�113 million raised from sale of nearly 1,000 council houses over 10 years

Nearly 1,000 council homes were sold by Westminster over the last decade, generating �113 million, freedom of information statistics reveal.

Campaigners called on the council to build new council homes to replace those lost, to tackle the borough’s current housing issues.

Figures from housing charity Shelter show last year 9,350 families were on waiting lists for Westminster council houses, up nearly 6,000 from 10 years ago.

The figures also show 1,564 families with dependent children being housed in temporary accommodation, and 91 families with children listed as homeless.

Defend council housing campaigner Eileen Short said: “What many councils across London have been doing is selling off housing stock at auction.

“It is a scandal of the highest order that the money generated has not been invested in building new homes.

“This is proof that the current housing crisis is one that has been made. They should repay us by putting it in their plans to build 1,000 new council homes in Westminster.”

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The majority of the homes sold were brought under laws allowing tenants to buy their council house at a discounted price, with at least 240 sold by other means.

Cllr Jonathan Glanz, cabinet member for housing and property, the council had no control over these laws.

He said: “If people want to exercise their rights, we are not there to stand in their way. Our job is to apply national legislation and we have no choice in that matter.

“We still have large numbers of houses we retain and those houses which have been disposed of have not disappeared, they are still part of the overall provision of homes in Westminster.”

He did accept there was a pressing need for housing in Westminster, and said the council was doing what they could to provide new ones.

He said: “We recognise the fact that we need more homes, it’s not just council housing, we have too few homes across the piece.

“Where we can we will build new homes but that’s not a five month job. Finding new homes in a borough where most of the land is already built on is very difficult.

“What we are looking to do is provide more homes by building on the land that we have, with ongoing developments in areas such as Church Street.”