Are you Local?

By sizemore Last edited 158 months ago
Are you Local?

If you're born and bred in Chelsea and increasingly pissed off at the newly arrived Russian tycoon splashing you with his SUV when you pop back to visit your parents as he pulls into his newly converted gated apartment complex (that used to be your old school/church/slaughterhouse) then good news is in the air. You'll soon have the chance to move in next door to him and act out hilarious sitcom scenarios. Maybe.

Chelsea council has hit upon a plan to ban 'outsiders' from throwing their money around and snatching up overpriced conversions and new builds from the locals who have more of a 'right' to buy the property - if not the cold hard cash.

They got the idea from a similar one in the Yorkshire Dales, but so far have stopped short of saying that Edward and Tubbs will be on hand to stop non-locals from touching the precious things of the borough.

It sounds like quite a good idea - we know lots of people who have been out priced in the areas they grew up in and gentrification is seen as a plague of Loadsamoney types swanning in and destroying the local older community.

Then again from our personal experience an influx of new money into a rundown area is also a good thing. One of the Londonist hideouts is in a very fashionable part of London (although we do our best to lower the tone every chance we get) and where we once had to stop and peel off a dozen or so BNP stickers and cross the road to avoid the chap running out of the local shitkicker drinking establishment with a meat cleaver in his hand, there is now a LOT of building work, a lot of new shops and services and a lot of new people spending money where previously there were only empty and dilapidated warehouses. Of course there's also a lot of silly cars and kids with names like Cuthbert, but to be honest we'd rather tackle a precocious 8 year old and his cute Latvian nanny than one of the local characters who has lived here all his life and dragged his tattooed knuckles across every paving stone to prove it.

The catch in the council's plan seem to be that you have to prove a connection with the area to qualify. So newly arrived 'Londoners' providing indispensable services like cleaning those same streets or skills such as nursing the occupants are still left on the outside looking in.

So where do our readers stand on this? Should we be stopping people from moving into certain areas or is gentrification simply progress for a city that is after all made up of 'outsiders'? Do we need to put a break on being so damn cosmopolitan to give the 'locals' a chance to catch up? Is the current housing crisis in London too complicated and gaping a wound for such a band-aid solution?

It's also worth noting as Shelter does that this does nothing to address the problem of those who have no home at all...

Last Updated 15 November 2005