[Ben Reeve Lewis hails from Sarf London …]
It’s a small world
I have lived within sight distance of the Crystal Palace transmitter for most of my life.
It shines like a homing beacon of sanity when I’m stuck in the wilds of North London, where it occasionally appears between buildings like a worried looking mother Duck, keeping an eye out for its wandering South London offspring.
I travel through the small accompanying town centre several times a month on my way hither and yon to have a row with a landlord in a front garden or to defend a possession case at Croydon County Court and only this week realised that the triangle of roads, sitting atop a steep hill is the meeting point for 3 different London councils.
Croydon, Lambeth and Bromley, with Lewisham and Southwark borders just a spit away, meaning in the space of a few hundred yards you cross 5 different councils.
I came across this 2012 article on the effects of being a divided town:-
51 year old author Jeremy Hagues lives in the Croydon bit but never goes into Croydon town centre, saying “Lambeth is the best place in the world. Culturally there is more diversity than anywhere”, while Katrianne Lissauer, who lives on the Lambeth side says “West Norwood (in Lambeth) is one of the dodgiest areas in London, stabbings and shootings and car crime happens quite regularly”. Adding that the recycling is good for her but her boyfriend, who lives on the Croydon side gets a bum deal as their refuse service is rubbish (I thang-you) and the residents in the Bromley bit have to keep their trash indoors for fear of rats, such is the parlous state of the bin collections in that corner of the leafy, moneyed-up borough.
Licensing Free for All
On the landlord side, Croydon has full, across the board licensing whilst its neighbours don’t, so landlords owning a few properties close together round that way can find themselves subject to 5 different systems and approaches.
A bit of a minefield I’m sure, so I thought you might be interested to see this website.
This covers the requirements of all London borough licensing schemes, including who is looking to do what in the near future. It has a few out of London mentions.
Apparently, Bournemouth is looking to extend their schemes as well.
I’m not sure who sponsors the website apart from the adverts but when dropping down the ‘Resources’ menu, along with articles on licensing requirement there is an article titled “How to evict a tenant”, so I’m guessing it ain’t Shelter.
Packing ’em in
Evicting tenants not being one of the considerations of Hove landlord Muharrem Kartal.
Mr Kartal, far from wanting his tenants to leave, is actually keen to get more of them to stay, having recently been fined £43,680 by the local authority for cramming 12 people into a house fit for 9, among other offences. Only the press think 12 people in a house built for 9 is an outrage bless ‘em, I’m sure Hove’s officers have seen worse.
When you are in enforcement that kind of thing is considered ‘Spacious and accommodating’ based on what we see daily, my personal records being 47 people in a 9 room house and 32 in a two bed flat but fair play to the council lads and lasses, a decent result in anyone’s books. I know how hard it is to get a conviction so well done there.
Old News re-vamped
When not being outraged by the everyday nonsense, another thing the press excel at is picking up on a story that’s been doing the rounds for ages and repackaging it as the latest scandal.
The BBC this week reported on pervy, Rigsby types taking advantage of the housing shortage to offer lodgings in return for sex.
This story has been doing the rounds for ages. I wrote about it myself on this very blog well over a year ago, although admittedly the angle here is on the legality of openly advertising on Craigslist, instead of the back pages of ‘Big ones international’,
There used to be such a periodical in my local newsagent. The title always made me laugh. One anonymous poster, who sets a new benchmark for delusional thinking said:-
“I am the last type of person who’d like to take advantage. Both sides have something the other person wants. I see it as a win-win situation.”
………Hmmm. So the last type of person who’d like to take advantage puts an advert on Craigslist for sex in return for rent. Wake up and smell the humus as they say.
On a more serious note, you can’t help wondering if the cut in housing benefit for the under 22s isn’t going to leave more people prone to consider taking up offers of this kind and make the call to the last type of person who’d like to take advantage.
Finally, a genuinely new piece of news drew my attention this week in the form of housing you can print in 3d.
The Telegraph tells us that rather than using conventional building techniques a person can design a home online and it is built to spec by computers elsewhere.
Apparently Dubai have been building stuff with the technology but growth in the UK is predicted to be slower because of strict planning laws. Personally I like the idea but I’ll bet Prince Charles would drop his Muesli at the very thought. Not a colonnade or a Doric arch in sight.
What made me smile this week …
My irritability with slack press reporting this week has been exacerbated by noticing that whilst the world is genuinely on the brink of a thermo nuclear war the BBC seems to spend more screen time reporting on Snooker or Prince Harry not grieving over the death of his mum.
In an effort to find a news channel that actually reports what is going on out there I fell across RT (Russia Today) An interesting article on it here.
RT airs on Freeview and is a bit of a strange one. Comes across like a standard news channel but which interviews people with marginal views and presents a very different, albeit Russian slanted view of the world. As the article points out the channel is heavily biased but no more so than Trump’s beloved Fox News or even the increasingly trivial BBC.
As the article points out the channel is heavily biased but no more so than Trump’s beloved Fox News or even the increasingly trivial BBC.
Certainly not a place to go for objective truth but then, is any news programme? RT might come across as a bit odd but is that just because we’ve gotten used to the BBC style? Mistaking it for decent, honest reporting while it’s content descends into sport, weather and promoting upcoming BBC products.
The writing is on the wall. Not just news generally but also a balanced view of the housing crisis. There is no single place to go to get a full picture.
The responsibility is ours and we ain’t gonna get it from one source. The fact is that bloggers on specific subjects know more what is going on than qualified journalists, writing copy to earn their rent money rather than writing about what is really going on.
See ya in a fortnight.