By Tim Saunders on
It was a case of “Us And Them” for musician David Gilmour earlier this week, after his plans to create affordable apartments for homeless people in London were thwarted by angry locals.
The 61-year-old Pink Floyd guitarist sold his London mansion five years ago to put his ‘house for a house’ philosophy – the belief that the wealthy should sell one of their palaces to provide hundreds of homes for those who are less well off – into practice. The initiative was part of his idea to fund Urban Village, based on a project in New York where an Art Deco hotel had been turned into a block of 400 flats – half for low-paid key workers, the other half for homeless people.
But protests from neighbors have stopped the project, and homeless charity Crisis – which would have benefited from the Urban Village plan – has admitted defeat and is now looking at much smaller schemes.
“We have 40,000 people in London living in squats, B&B’s, or on the streets,” said Leslie Morphy, Crisis Chief Executive. “I think it does say something about us as a society if we cannot get a project as exciting as this off the ground. It is dispiriting and we need to learn a lot from this.”
Despite the stumbling block, Gilmour is not going to back away from the project.
“Obviously this setback is a disappointment,” he said. “But I am determined to make a success of the Urban Village project here in London and to continue to work with Crisis to bring real change to the lives of homeless people.”
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars