Even Westmonster banned them many years ago by ensuring the social housing did not bear cost of hgher service charges.
Boris Johnson has ruled out a ban on so-called “poor doors”, which give social housing tenants separate entrances in new housing developments, but said he would discourage their use whenever possible.
The Guardian reported last week on the segregation in newbuild blocks that have affordable homes as well as apartments sold at much higher open-market prices.
Separate doors mean that housing associations offering the cheaper homes can avoid the high service charges paid for plush communal areas, but reports about the split entrances have underlined concerns about the capital’s increasingly polarised property market.
All London developments of 150 or more homes must be approved by the mayor, who said on Monday h he was not keen on separate entrances and had taken steps to prevent them in some developments. He told BBC Radio London: “I don’t like them and they are something that I try to get out of the planning application if I can.”
Unlike his New York counterpart, Bill de Blasio, Johnson did not commit himself to banning the practice, which he said had been going on for “a very, very long time”.
“The difficulty is, and this is what the developers will say, is that the high charges, the concierge charges, the charges for all the services in the building, cannot always be met in a uniform way by all the tenants, and that’s why they make this case for dual access.”
Sir Edward Lister, Johnson’s chief-of-staff and the deputy mayor for planning, said his boss’s priority was to increase the number of low-cost homes for Londoners, and that since 2008 more than 76,000 affordable homes had been built in the city. More affordable homes were expected to be built in 2014 than in any year since 1980, he said.
He said: “When coming to a view on any planning decision, the mayor or relevant borough has to balance a wide range of factors and policy concerns, not least the need to maximise overall housing output and the number of affordable homes.
“The mayor is committed to creating mixed communities for Londoners on a range of incomes. While he discourages dual access doors in planning applications, in some cases, this is not possible without incurring unaffordable service charges for people on a tight budget.”
Labour’s shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, said she was against the separation of affordable and private homes in a single building. “There shouldn’t be separate doors for people living in affordable housing,” she said. “Many of the developments that I have been to haven’t had this distinction but I am deeply concerned that it is something happening in the UK.”
David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, who has shown interest in standing for London mayor in 2016, called on Johnson to consider banning the practice. It belonged “more in a Dickens novel than in a 21st-century global city,” he said. “This is a case of Londoners living side by side, but completely divided by bricks, mortar and money. We cannot allow London to become a city of haves and have nots. The capital’s sweeping economic success must benefit all Londoners, not just those who can afford to pay for luxury living.”