Affordable council homes may be built outside Westminster to solve housing crisis

Affordable homes could be provided outside of Westminster as Town Hall chiefs explore solutions to the growing housing crisis.

Cllr Jonathan Glanz, Westminster cabinet member for housing and property, told the Wood&Vale the council would need to be “bold in its thinking” to provide the homes needed.

He said: “We have to face the fact that with eight-and-a-half square miles of the centre of London, a very large percentage of which is either conservation areas or parks, we have very limited available land.

“One solution is to use the money generated in the borough to create homes owned by Westminster and for people from Westminster but perhaps just outside the city boundaries.

“Ideally we want to house people within Westminster where we can, but if that’s not possible do we say we can’t help you, or do we think a little more boldly and look at other options.”

He said it was too early to say where the new homes could be provided but drew comparisons with housing assocation schemes, which have provided homes for Westminster residents in Camden and Islington.

He also said they would look at keeping stamp duty generated by luxury developments, sometimes up to 15 per cent, to fund affordable housing.

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The latest housing statistics show there are 1,964 families in temporary accommodation in the borough.

This includes 450 in bed and breakfast – 95 of whom have been there for six weeks or more, in breach of the law. Cllr Glanz suggested the cause of some of these problems was the large number with little connection to the borough seeking homes here.

He said: “We have got people coming along, some of whom don’t necessarily have any long term connection to the borough, saying this would be a nice place to live, particularly if they are being accommodated at the taxpayers expense.

“The fact that Westminster is such an attractive place to live, and in the centre of London, means inevitably we are going to have demand we are not able to satisfy within the city itself and the stock that we hold.”