Where are London’s real no go areas?

Borough Market in happier times. Image: Getty.

Over the weekend, in the wake of the horrific attack on London Bridge, this happened:

Which is odd, because I've lived inside the M25 pretty much my entire life, and waste much of my spare time on long, pointless walks across town, and I have never been aware of encountering a single no go area. Honestly: sink estates; industrial wastelands, Mayfair... They’re all basically fine, in my experience, and if I’m not scared I can’t for the life of me imagine why the police would be.

I'm not alone in this. Yesterday, my podcast co-host Stephanie - who is great, and who you should all follow on Twitter to make up for the fact I'm about to shamelessly recycle her tweets – tweeted this:

 

Also, this:

 

A lot of people clearly felt strongly about a certain underwhelming restaurant chain.

 

(A footnote: Stephanie, who is the funniest person in London, said it was fine for me to use her tweets providing I called her the funniest person in London*. So.)

Anyway. Yesterday I did that embarrassing thing where I read Steph's tweets, forgot I'd read them, and then fifteen minutes later tweeted something similar as if they were my own idea because I'm basically a terrible person. Here was my effort.

 

(Gratifyingly for Stephanie, you will note that I did not receive the numbers she did.)

My search continued:

 

Here, just for information, is a map of the no go areas of South London:

Click to expand, but don’t say we didn't warn you.

Eventually, I found a couple:

Seriously, the queues at the bar are insane, and if you don't manage to get a drink you're basically just sitting in a multi storey car park. (Note for non-Londoners: this is literally true.)

There's also this:

Which is a vexingly popular tourist attraction in Leicester Square, at which no actual Londoner would ever be seen dead.

Others had their own ideas. South London bitterness was a theme:

So was north London snobbery:

 

For some reason, people really don’t think much of the remarkably anodyne north London suburb of Palmers Green:

Honestly, for a place that literally nobody as ever heard of, it attracted a surprising amount of ire.

A number of people mentioned the West End at Christmas:

The horror! The horror!

 

The very worst London area of all, though, a place you should absolutely never go to if you can possibly avoid it, turned out to be south of the river:

 

Probably because of one particular night spot.

 

Anyway. If you can think of other terrifying no go areas in London, do feel free to tweet me. And also, follow Stephanie – she is, you'll recall, the funniest person in London.

*She also said I wasn't allowed to say that she'd told me to do this.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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With its social housing green paper, the government has missed an opportunity to tackle the housing crisis – again

Trellick Tower, a GLC-built property in Kensal Town, west London. Image: Getty.

A Labour London councillor on today’s green paper.

London faces a housing crisis: it’s one of the most obvious statements a politician can make in 2018.

Too many Londoners can’t afford to buy their own homes. Private renters have little security and face extortionate rents and fees. Council housing waiting lists remain stubbornly high.

None of that is new news. And yet, the government has once again shown that it completely misses the point when it comes to the housing crisis.

Today’s much anticipated, and delayed, Social Housing Green Paper should have been a chance for the new communities secretary James Brokenshire to make a break from past missed opportunities. Unlike his rather flash predecessor, current home secretary Sajid Javid, Brokenshire has talked honestly and with apparent understanding about the housing crisis and the need for real action.

It is therefore all the more disappointing that the Green Paper is a complete damp-squib when it comes to new policy that will make any difference to tackling the housing crisis.

It’s welcome news that the final nail has been hammered into the coffin of the government’s 2016 plans to force councils to sell-off ‘high value’ council homes – something I and many others have campaigned against since it was first announced and which, according to housing charity Shelter, would have seen as many as 23,000 council homes sold-off in a year.


But it’s hard to celebrate, when there’s not a single penny of new funding for local councils to build new council homes.

There was no announcement that Right to Buy will be fixed, so that homes lost are replaced like for like in the same area.

Worst of all, the government failed to announce its support for the single simplest policy it could adopt, which would help councils build thousands of new homes and would cost the government absolutely nothing – lifting the red-tape that stops councils from borrowing to build.

The artificial cap on councils’ ability to borrow to build new council homes is maddening. The ‘New Homes Blocker’ is stopping councils across London from building new council homes.

The reason the government won’t change its position is because the UK is one of the only countries in Europe that counts such borrowing as part of national debt. A simple change in accounting policy would allow councils to borrow prudently, and at record-low costs, to finance the building of thousands of new council homes, repaying the borrowing through the rents on the new homes.

Councils like Islington are building more council homes now than we have for the last 30 years. But without either significant government investment or the lifting of the borrowing cap for councils, our ambitions to fight the housing crisis face yet more hurdles to overcome.  

Diarmaid Ward is a Labour councillor and the executive member for housing & development at the London Borough of Islington.