Westminster City Council has received £13 million from the New Homes Bonus since April 2011 but not one penny of that money has been spent on building new homes in Westminster.
According to Council officers, the Council received the following in New Homes Bonus over the past three years;
- April 11 – £1.6 million
- April 12 – £5.1 million
- April 13 – £6.3 million
- Total – £13 million
- There are 120 Westminster families who have been in Bed & Breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks which, according to Housing Minister, Mark Prisk MP, is “unacceptable and unlawful”
- There are over 1,000 Westminster Council tenants who the Council says are living in overcrowded conditions
- Just one affordable flat has been built in Westminster out of the nearly 400 luxury flats that have been given planning permission for change of use from office use to residential in the past year.
- Westminster Council is sending homeless people to live in 30 different local authorities, including Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, Bletchley, Maidstone, Hemel Hempsted and Gray’s in Essex.
- A six bedroom house in Lisson Grove, Marylebone, NW1, owned by Westminster City Council, has been vacant for over two years and has cost residents over £14,000 in lost rent and Council Tax.
Over the past 30 years, Westminster Conservatives have sold 40% of the Council’s 22,000 Council properties. Of the 9,000 Council flats sold, around 40% are now in the hands of private landlords.
On 7th July 2009 the Council issued a press release announcing “plans to build around 500 more homes across Westminster”. Council Leader Councillor Philippa Roe said at the time (when she was Cabinet Member for Housing);
“Over the next four years homes will be built on brownfield and under-used sites on existing estates to help ease chronic overcrowding and provide home ownership opportunities for Westminster residents.”
But three and a half years on, the Council’s new homebuilding programme has produced just 29 new build homes at Westbourne Green (10 new homes), Avenue Gardens (2 homes), Gloucester Gardens (8 homes) and John Aird Court (9 homes not yet completed)
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“With an unprecedented housing crisis affecting more and more residents, it is staggering that Westminster Conservatives have failed to use the £13 million New Homes Bonus on building new homes. In 2009, the Conservatives said they would build 500 new Council homes by 2013; so far they have built just 29. This is an appalling record from a Council that is more interested in selling Council property than building new homes for those in need.”