The gentrification of Grays is underway…

Persimmon Homes Essex have started work on the Urban Central development on the site of the former gasworks just to the north west of Grays town centre: Urban Central: Work starts on Grays Town Centre housing development In the bullshit from Persimmon, they talk about the homes being aimed at professionals amongst others. Which is an indicator of how insane the housing market has become when even professionals working in London are considering Grays as a place to live and commute from.

We also have this from Persimmon: “Grays is a very popular place to live with a bustling high street, fashionable restaurants and shops and easy train access into London. We know that these properties will prove to be very popular indeed.” Now we don’t want to knock Grays but we must have blinked last Saturday when were in the town as we didn’t notice any fashionable restaurants! Which makes us think that Persimmon are projecting into the future to the kind of gentrified town they wish to see…

There’s not one single mention of the miserly proportion of ‘affordable’ homes that Persimmon are obliged to provide. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one but it could well be the case it will be grudgingly provided in a completely different and considerably less convenient location. What has to be said is that this development does sod all to reduce the waiting list for social housing in Thurrock. Not that this is going to be a priority as the regeneration and subsequent social cleansing of anywhere in Thurrock that’s near to the c2c line into London gets underway.

This echoes what’s going on in Basildon with the project of turning the place into a Tory voting commuter town: Screwed up priorities… What Thurrock and Basildon have in common is that compared to the total insanity of the property market in London, for young professionals, house prices are affordable and they are looking to move out here while they still have a relatively easy commute into the capital. Which means an extensive exercise in the re-branding of both locations to draw these people in at the expense of the rest of us.

The only possible compensating factor is that the housing market in London is showing signs of slowing down with the possibility that at some point in the not too distant future as the uncertainties about Brexit increase, it could well start tanking. A London housing market that’s tanking will be seen by many commentators as a disaster – we see it as an opportunity to get the notion that housing is not a financial asset but a basic right onto the agenda…


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