Cripes! Boris visits Charlton

Honestly, you’ve just moved into a new house, the carpet’s all nice and clean, everything’s ready… and then one mayor, three aides, six journalists and half a dozen photographers come around on a wet winter’s morning to tramp around the place. Where’s the Shake ‘n’ Vac when you need it?

To be fair, the press corps and mayoral aides seemed to be taking their shoes off for the mayoral visit to Gallon Close, Charlton, where he was promoting his housing policy (and “welcoming families into their new homes” and all that). While the new homes are very nice and seem surprisingly eco-friendly, Boris doesn’t seem to have had much to do with their creation. Hey-ho – don’t you know there’s an election on?

But it’s nice to see him down here, anyway.

Curiously, it’s his second visit to SE7 in three months after visiting apprentices at a training centre last October. Perhaps he likes us. After all, we don’t have any dangerous rivers like they do in, say, Sydenham

It wasn’t the best of weather for it, although the rain did hold off for his, er, lift from Charlton station.

I did think about hanging around and cadging a lift back, but with all the press and dignitaries safely inside, I decided to wander back. Of course, Boris is welcome back to SE7 any time. And just so the new householders know who’s called, there’s a picture of his best mate around the back of their house. Cripes!

UPDATE 1.45PM: Green AM Jenny Jones replies to Boris on Twitter: “With your lower social housing targets, waiting lists will only get longer & more people forced onto housing benefit.” And an army of Labour representatives line up to have a pop at Boris. “You almost have to admire Boris’s chutzpah in taking credit for homes he has had nothing to do with. These were started long before he was in City Hall and if he had been in charge with the policies he has you can guarantee they wouldn’t have happened.”

UPDATE 15 JANUARY: Tom of Boris Watch finds just how much credit Boris can claim for these new houses. The answer… not a lot.


  1. It’s a bit moot quite what Boris has to do with these houses. What I’ve been able to dig up so far:

    Greenwich Council, the previous landowner, approved the scheme much as it is in April/May 2008 (ref. 08/0321/F). The bulk of the money comes from central government in the form of 1.3m from the HCA. The GLA then topped this up with £0.2m to raise the sustainability level from code 3 to code 5. However, this is the only scheme in London apparently this has happened to, so is about as far from typical as you can get. I’d warrant that most of the 20,000 affordable houses Boris claims to have built in London follow this pattern but without the money from the GLA. If he was genuine, he’d be telling us how he’d insist on Code 5 for all future HCA/GLA funded schemes, but this would cost rather a lot of money, about £1.4bn if the extra cost for Code 5 comes in at the same rate as these 7 houses.

    The actual scheme, as far as one can tell, is a model of its type and about as far as you can get from the traditional Tory model of market free for all and horrible detached estate houses.

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