Architect Gabrielle Omar said proposals could be “great for the sector”
Architect Gabrielle Omar has supported proposals to sell off expensive council houses and re-invest the money to build cheaper homes.
Omar, director of Lolli + Square and star of the latest series of The Apprentice, spoke out following the publication of a report by think tank Policy Exchange that selling expensive social housing could raise £4.5 billion annually.
Omar said: “The building industry has been witnessing a lot of setbacks of late – with stalled projects, fluctuating budgets and even construction firms going into administration all causing disruption.
“If they are incentivised to build properties that will be in demand, it will be great for the sector. It would be a great strategy for local councils as it will allow them to unlock equity and provide homes for people in need.”
The report, Ending Expensive Social Tenancies, has also been backed by housing minister Grant Shapps.
He said the idea, which states the money raised could be used to build up to 170,000 new social homes a year, reducing housing waiting lists by up to 600,000 within five years, was “blindingly obvious”.
Alex Morton, author of the report, said: “Expensive social housing is costly, unpopular and unfair. That is why almost everybody rejects it. Social housing tenants deserve a roof over their heads – but not one better than most people can afford, particularly as expensive social housing means less social housing and so longer waiting lists for most people in need.”
Meanwhile, Omar conceded that the plan could result in the creation of new ghettos.
“The people who live in homes are almost as important as the homes themselves and if that diversity in communities is no longer there, society will suffer,” she said.
24 August 2012
23 August 2012 | Updated: 24 August 2012 11:20 am
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