Councillor Andrew Scarth, the Lead Member for Housing on Three Rivers District Council, fails to understand in his response (‘What communities need’, Letters, August 10 ) to my letter (‘Building Communities’, Letters, July 27) that the main point of my correspondence was that local people with ties to the Three Rivers area are being re-located to Harlow because the Liberal Democrats are not compelling developers to build social housing at rents of 50 per cent of the local market rental values.

READ MORE: Letter: Communities need social housing

As the Liberal Democrats have almost exclusively been the governing party of Three Rivers for the past 40 years they cannot credibly blame others for the housing crisis in this area, as they have failed to replace social housing that has been sold under ‘Right to Buy’ legislation.

There have been massive re-developments on the Old Durrants School site in Croxley Green, the former William Penn School land in Mill End, Rickmansworth Town Centre and the site of Long Island Exchange and other developments in Rectory Road, Rickmansworth.

The recurring theme is few if any have been built as social housing on social rents and are out of the financial reach of many including the young, people working but on low incomes, people in receipt of benefits and workers on ‘zero hours’ contracts.

This ‘ticking time bomb’ has finally exploded and there is simply not sufficient social housing to meet demand in the area to the point that local residents with ties to the area are being ‘shipped’ out of the area in a form of ‘social cleansing’.

Councillor Scarth appears to use the hackneyed tactic of ‘smoke and mirrors’ to insinuate that ‘affordable housing’ at 80 per cent of market rental values and ‘intermediate housing’ such as homes for sale on a 50 per cent shared ownership are also ‘affordable’ to people on low incomes, which they definitely are not.

If I can use the example of a key worker, a newly qualified nurse earning £21,909 gross with a net take home pay of around £1,400 per month after tax and national insurance contributions.

The prices for currently available one-bedroomed flats in the South Oxhey Redevelopment initiative are between £265,500 and £272,500. A 50 per cent share of a property at the lower end of this scale would cost him/her £132,750. It would be extremely unlikely that this nurse would have saved a deposit of 5 per cent of £6,637,50 and as most mortgage providers only lend 3 times annual salary s/he would only receive a mortgage of £65,727 which would be well short of the £126,112.50 required to buy a 50 per cent share of a leasehold flat in South Oxhey.

A one-bedded flat at 80 per cent of the local market rate of £1,000 per month in Three Rivers would cost this newly qualified nurse approximately £800 per month, £50 communal charges, plus council tax at approximately £107 per month, water rates, gas, electricity and telephone bills making a total of approximately £1,100 per month just on living costs. This would leave £300 per month for food, clothing, travel costs/petrol and leisure.

So clearly the only viable option for this newly qualified nurse would be a one-bedded flat on a social rent of 50 per cent of market value which would be approximately £500 per month.

With regard to the ‘affordable homes’ in South Oxhey to which Councillor Scarth alludes to; of the 514 being built, 397 are for private sale from prices between £265,500 and £362,500; 96 are on social rents to existing tenants displaced by the new development but will revert to ‘affordable rents’ on subsequent lets, and 21 were available for shared ownership, which have now all been taken.

The Liberal Democrats originally promised 50 per cent of these properties would be ‘affordable’ and even if you include the 21 shared ownership homes with the 96 social rent homes then this would give a total of 117 ‘affordable homes’. This gives a percentage of 23 per cent as ‘affordable homes’.

It is common knowledge that TRDC knew in mid-December 2015 that the £2.83 million grant being paid for by the Homes & Communities Agency to the registered provider would only be paid on the proviso that the 97 social rent homes would revert to affordable homes in subsequent lets. This effectively means that Tax payers have subsidised the purchase price of 397 homes for private sale.

TRDC could have ‘pulled the plug’ on this redevelopment nearly 3 years ago but the Chief Executive with the agreement of 2 of the 3 party leaders signed off this Development Agreement, which reneged on a promise that 50 per cent of these properties would be ‘affordable’.

The clear losers will be local people who are crying out for ‘social homes’ and the clear winners will be property speculators and buy to let landlords who are set to make a small fortune. All this subsidised by the taxpayer, nice work if you can get it.

Ian Kirkham

The Queens Drive, Chorleywood