The response of Stephen Clark, spokesman for planning on London’s Camden council, to the marketing of Queen Mary’s House as potential luxury flats (NHS privately planning to turn London hospital building into block of luxury £10m flats, 19 May) is mealy-mouthed to say the least. His concerns should extend beyond the fact that the hospital has not applied for planning permission and that the council “wouldn’t want to see just luxury homes on the site”.
With the NHS struggling to recruit and retain key staff – not least because of the lack of local affordable accommodation – the council should be making its opposition to the Royal Free’s plans clear, or demanding that developers are required to replace the lost accommodation at an equivalent rent in the locality. Anything else would demonstrate an abdication of its responsibilities.
Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire
• The building was gifted by Lord Leverhulme almost a century ago as a maternity ward. He must surely be turning in his grave at the recent news. Providing homes for workers was at the heart of his business ethos. He created an entire village for his workers, Port Sunlight, a carefully crafted community with a school, leisure facilities and cultural centres, and all for an affordable rent. The soap magnate believed in treating his workers with respect. And he had loyal staff who created one of the UK’s most successful global companies.
If we had the insight to recognise that workers needed decent affordable housing close to their place of work a century ago, then why we do believe that principle no longer exists? Greed.
• Join the debate – email [email protected]
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters