The ‘West End Extra’ reports;
“The leader of Westminster Council has moved to distance herself from controversial comments made by her housing chief in which he compared social housing tenants to the “Made in Chelsea brigade”.
Jonathan Glanz, who is charge of housing and property in the borough said that some Westminster residents who are housed by the council had “similar fortunes” to champagne-swilling “trustifarians” who have access to multi-million-pound trust funds.
Cllr Glanz, who is said to be eyeing up the top spot in the next leadership race, was accused of attacking residents.
Life-long Soho resident Alida Baxter said she was “petrified” by his comments and believed he wanted create a “gated community” that excludes “anyone who isn’t rich”.
But Tory council leader Philippa Roe, who heads up the 28 Conservative councillors at City Hall, said in a statement today: “These comments are the views of an individual and do not represent the views of the council.
“We understand that many social housing tenants face significant financial and other pressures and are in no way comparable with those portrayed in ‘Made in Chelsea’.
“We celebrate our mixed communities with private property alongside high quality social homes. We are committed to giving people ladders of opportunity through social and affordable housing and by linking them with the employment opportunities available here.
Defending his comments last week, Cllr Glanz told the West End Extra: “It was a point about extremely high value property and a general point for a Conservative broader audience rather than an immediately local audience as to whether it’s appropriate as a nation that we should be housing people in homes worth such an extraordinarily high amount of money.”
The West End Extra’s story has since been picked up by the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
Cllr Glanz responded to Ms Baxter in a letter, saying she was “unaware of the facts,” adding: “Presumably Ms Baxter is unaware of the work which I have done in relation to ensuring the maintenance and enhancement of genuine mixed communities throughout the West End and beyond.”
He wrote: “As Ms Baxter rightly says, voters will have a choice next May as to who they wish to represent them. That choice should, however, be based on facts and accurate information and not on the opinions of one individual. I am happy to stand on my record and let the voters decide.”
And this week Ms Baxter’s comments were supported by Ron Whelan of Mayfair Residents Group