Labour Councillors have demanded that all the £39 million the Council has received from Qatari Diar as the first tranche of the £78 million s106 payment towards affordable housing on the Chelsea Barracks site be spent on building new Council flats and house on Council-owned land in Westminster.
Labour say that the first £39 million could pay for 200 new homes at Council rents for families in housing need. The second tranche of the £39 million payment from Qatari Diar is expected in 2016 and Labour say that this money should also be invested in building 200 new Council homes on Council owned land in Westminster.
Labour argue that spending the £78 million building 400 new Council homes on Council-owned land will cut the cost of house building in central London and is a much more cost effective way of spending Council money than the Council’s current practice of spending over £20 million buying back former Right to Buy Council flats in Westminster at an average cost of £450,000 per flat or spending over £3.6 million buying 25 flats in Grays in Essex.
Labour say that the Council should also establish a ‘local lettings’ policy so that existing residents living on the estates where the new homes are built are given first option to move to the new homes. This would enable those families in overcrowded conditions to move to a larger flat and those residents who wish to ‘downsize’ to move to a new home in their local area. The homes vacated by families moving to the new homes would be then let to families in priority need.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“The £78 million windfall from the Chelsea Barracks development must be invested for the long term in 400 new Council flats in Westminster for people in housing need. There can be no more excuses from Westminster Conservatives. The money is available, as is the Council-owned land in Westminster. The Conservatives should stop buying property outside Westminster and, instead, it should build new Council homes in Westminster.”