Here's a nice email I received a while ago:
May I call you by your first name - we've never met - yet from reading your blogs I feel that I know you.
Thought I'd drop you a line to reel one off about the lack of family homes in the Clapton Pond area. The small patch of ground bordered by Leabridge Rd to the north, Lower Clapton to the west and Chatsworth to the east.
I have been living on Thistlewaite Road for a few years now and the time has come to move from our 2 bed flat to a larger house with garden as the children get older.
The problem we have been finding is lots of the houses that do come up for sale are very quickly snapped up by developers and carved up into flats. This is frustrating us beyond belief - we have a our son at Millfields and don't want to leave the area.
Other houses that we've seen are set at an astronomic asking price - we suspect completely over inflated by the ruthless estate agents - and don't hang about long before some cash buyer steams in with a deal and takes it.
I must seem like a right old whinger. But what I'm driving at is that we don't want the remaining properties to be 'multiple occupancy dwellings', as I believe they are referred to by building control. There is very little in the way of housing ladder left to climb.
Parking becomes an issue, clusters of over flowing dustbins in front gardens, short let tenants not really caring about the neighbourhood ...
Do we smell a conspiracy between the local building control and said 'developers'? Of course, we'd never know for sure...
I really hope I can find an affordable house in the area because I've come to like living here and Thistlewaite residents are a friendly bunch.
If only I'd had the foresight to buy here 30 years ago when I could have got a whole house for £1000!
Thanks for listening
Thanks to you for writing, and I'm sorry for taking so long to respond. The truth is I don't really know the answers to your questions and haven't yet found time to look into them properly. What I do know is that in London there is a simultaneous demand for larger, family-friendly homes (overcrowding is a terrible problem) and more single-person units because more and more people are living alone. Maybe the Council could offer its view. That would at least be a start I'll ask.