Liberal Democrats are demanding action from the Council to prevent the spread of two levels of service on new housing estates being built across Southwark.
Local councillors have been contacted by residents in The Exchange, which is part of the Council’s Bermondsey Spa regeneration scheme. The development is built and managed by Notting Hill Housing Trust, one of the council’s major partners, who recently celebrated the completion of their 30,000th home in the capital.
Since The Exchange opened, tenants and residents living in shared ownership homes have discovered that they are not allowed access to the gym facilities on the estate, while leaseholders have full access and pay through their service charge.
Residents have complained that denying them the opportunity to access the estate’s gym is unfair. It also means that the potential benefits of exercise in tackling obesity, fitness and mental health issues are lost to many residents in The Exchange.
Liberal Democrat councillors have now written to the Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Notting Hill Housing Trust asking them to change this harmful policy.
Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Councillor Ben Johnson, said:
“Liberal Democrats are fighting for more affordable housing in Southwark. With 19,000 people on the council’s waiting list there is a desperate need for more homes and shared ownership is an important way to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.
“But we now discover that those who buy shared ownership properties in Southwark are being treated as second-class citizens effectively, with segregated facilities only for those who buy outright.
“Similar to ‘poor doors’, this policy sows division and tension among our residents and should not be allowed if we want to build truly mixed and diverse communities in Southwark.
"If those in shared ownership homes are wiling to pay for the use of the gym, why should they be banned from keeping fit there? I have written to Notting Hill Housing and the Council to demand an end to this segregation on all existing and future developments and I look forward to their response.”