Housing body wins planning battle against Hackney Council

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2011
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A strictly Orthodox Housing Association has won a battle against Hackney Council to build 13 new homes in Stamford Hill.

Agudas Israel's chief executive Ita Symons said they had plans turned down twice by Hackney councillors to develop the site of the former Persian Synagogue. Construction on 13 new family homes will begin in East Bank, behind Ajex House, in January. Of the 13, eight will be for rent and five will be shared ownership.

Mrs Symons said: "It has been a huge waste of time and resources, we could have had families living there by now. We originally submitted plans for 16 units and were turned down, and then we submitted a revised 13-unit plan and they would not even allow it to come to committee. So we went to appeal - and we won."

She said the homes were desperately needed. "We have a terrible shortage. In these times, nobody wants to move. And it takes a very long time to acquire and build other properties."

Agudas Israel has also just purchased 28 family homes from Countryside Properties in Salford. "The price difference is enormous," said Mrs Symons. "We are finding that young couples who have come back from studying in Israel want to move to Manchester because it's more affordable. There's nothing to keep them in London."

Hackney Council could not be reached for comment.

Last updated: 1:38pm, December 22 2011