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Comment: 'We deserve more than reheated housing ideas and AI slop'

Labour’s New Town code... just don’t look too closely at the uncanny denizens of future Britain  (Create Streets)
Labour’s New Town code... just don’t look too closely at the uncanny denizens of future Britain (Create Streets)

The manifestos and housing pledges are dropping, and with it any hope for serious ideas to help London’s struggling renters and homeowners.

Nothing even vaguely fresh or original has made it onto the menu.

Labour suggested it would extend the Conservative’s 95 per cent mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers (FTBS). In reality, anyone who can’t save for a deposit will struggle to pass the mortgage checks, especially in pricey London.

The Conservatives are still insisting they’d totally be able to pass the Renters Reform Bill in ban section 21, a broken promise from the last election.

They also want to bring back Help To Buy, which begs the question why they stopped it it in the first place — seeing as London new build prices are now permanently inflated.

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Lib Dems want to bring in Rent to Own for social housing, a rebranded Right to Buy that would require a lot more social housing to replace the stock moving into private ownership. They’d also build 10 garden cities, location undetermined.

“Quality housing should be our shared future, not a reanimated zombie of the past.”

Labour is beating the drum for new towns too, getting into bed with Conservative think tank Create Streets with a New Town’s Code that promises new urban hubs with old world charm.

Create Streets’ AI-created images of leafy streets and faux-Edwardian mansion blocks should give us all pause.

Looking to RETVRN to a non-existent halcyon past of housing is an alt-right dog whistle, one that won’t fly in multicultural London.

The appeal of building an entirely new place is you don’t have to risk upsetting existing residents by bolting on hundreds of new homes.

But much of this NIMBYism is underpinned by the real fear over having to share already over-stretched public services, not fussing over the visual familiarity.

New homes need sufficient GP appointments and school places — they don’t need to smuggle in weird nationalist ideas.

That Create Streets has to resort to image generators likely trained on stolen art speaks to a lack of commitment to serious design that values human labour.

We have plenty of smart architects and urban planners working on contemporary housing ideas for our city. Just look at the winners of the recent RIBA London awards.

Quality housing should be our shared future, not a reanimated zombie of the past.