The furore surrounding One Housing Group’s controversial Project Stone continues despite attempts from the housing provider to alay fears about the plans.
One Housing Group (OHG) produced the document, leaked earlier this year, outlining early plans to replace its social housing on the island with several thousand high-priced flats, while also providing replacement social housing for current tenants.
This was met with speculation from residents and councillors that it could push lower income residents out of the island and would be a strain on local infrastructure.
One Housing has since sent out a newsletter to its residents rubbishing speculation that residents would be evicted and that it was intentionally keeping them in the dark. It maintained current tenants would stay on the island under the same terms within the new builds, and that plans for the project were not even in place yet.
However, it did concede that it should have kept both its tenants and Tower Hamlets Council better informed, adding: “We now realise that we could have shared our early thinking sooner to help inform the first stage of consultation.”
The group’s CEO Mick Sweeney added: “Despite investing nearly £40million, homes still suffer from damp and disrepair.
“We want a long term plan for ensuring high quality affordable homes for Islanders.
“We believe change is necessary, but it has to involve Islanders every step of the way.”
But One Housing Group resident and Labour councillor for Cubitt Town and Blackwall Candida Ronald believes the group must do more to regain trust from its island residents.
“One Housing Group is looking at it from their own point of view,” she said. “They are not looking at how its plans are being received by the residents.
“We have a huge waiting list for housing in Tower Hamlets and we need more social housing. This top-down approach they have in simply telling residents what they are going to do regardless is not helpful.”
The Save Our Islands Homes campaign is set to hold a lobby of the next Tower Hamlets full council meeting on Wednesday, September 16.
A spokesman for the group said: “We will be calling on the mayor and council to enable residents to have a vote on the OHG plan, refuse planning permission if tenants and leaseholders vote against the plan and bring the estates back under council control.”