Labour Councillors have slammed new Westminster Council proposals to use funds generated from selling off properties in Westminster to build new 24 council homes, not where they are needed locally, but in the outer London borough of Hounslow.
Westminster Council’s ‘Housing Investment Strategy and HRA Business Plan 2016/17’strategy floated the potential for out of borough purchases to be considered but this major new scheme to transfer residents to outer London sets a deeply troubling precedent. There is little clarity about how these residents would continue to access Westminster Council services and support.
A separate plan to build new family sized Council homes on Westminster Council owned land is likely to require affordable housing funds from private developments in order to be delivered, as core funds are being allocated to the Hounslow project.
Labour believes that housing funds should be used to deliver new social and genuinely affordable homes in Westminster for local people, particularly using public land. Labour Leader Councillor Adam Hug and Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Tim Roca have requested that these plans are ‘called-in’ for further assessment by the Council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr Adam Hug said: “These worrying plans see Westminster try to pass the buck for delivering new social housing to Hounslow. The council should invest that money in creating new Council homes in Westminster rather than allowing thousands of luxury flats to be built in our City while pushing out our council tenants to outer London.”
- Council Decision notice is available here: http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=630
- A rush hour journey between Hounslow and Victoria by bus takes two hours according to TFL.
- The threshold for enabling the Council’s ‘Call In’ process is a request by 3 members of the Scrutiny Committee. With two Labour Committee members for this further investigation to take place a Conservative scrutiny member must also make the request- so far none have come forward.