Overcrowded families are in our top priority grouping

I am writing to correct a number of inaccuracies and omissions made in Cllr Dimoldenberg s column (Latest stunt from the gullible Tories must be put to bed, W&V December 3). First, he does not refer to the fact that our new scheme, which is genuinely tryi

I am writing to correct a number of inaccuracies and omissions made in Cllr Dimoldenberg's column (Latest stunt from the gullible Tories must be put to bed, W&V December 3).

First, he does not refer to the fact that our new scheme, which is genuinely trying to help people get a first step on the property ladder, will give priority to council and housing association tenants, followed by people on the waiting list in Westminster.

Adult sons or daughters in overcrowded families who want have a home of their own are in the top priority groups and we would encourage them to take advantage of this scheme.

Second, Cllr Dimoldenberg also suggests that these new homes may be at risk of being sublet. However, he again fails to mention that it is standard practice in our all tenancy agreements to have a clause preventing sub-letting, and breach of the clause is a civil offence with eviction being the ultimate sanction.


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We will not tolerate any tenants who seek to abuse the system.

Finally, contrary to his claims, I am also writing to reassure your readers that helping families who live in overcrowded conditions is one the highest priorities in our housing plans.

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We recognise the extent and the seriousness of this problem and have pledged to offer larger accommodation to 1,000 families on our current waiting list who are living in overcrowded conditions.

Our first step was to rehouse more than 40 families that need at least two more bedrooms. We are making progress and so far have rehoused 27 families from this group and will aim to offer larger homes to the remaining families.

In the long-term, our programme to build almost 500 new homes - many of them family sized properties - will also help to tackle this issue.

We have also announced proposals to work with residents to develop renewal plans for four areas in Westminster. This project will significantly help the council meets its target of rehousing 1,000 overcrowded families over the next five years.

We know, however, that there is much more to be done and that are still many families who need better housing. It is unacceptable, that, in the 21st century, so many people continue to live in homes that are far too small for them, often exacerbating already vulnerable situations.

For these families a solution is much needed and to really tackle it we need broader reform.

We are lobbying the government as we believe that to really tackle overcrowding there has to be an overhaul of the current legislation with the government's temporary accommodation target being abolished and appropriate reforms to council finance pushed through.

We will continue to push for change so the distressing plight of families who live in overcrowded homes does not continue any longer.

Cllr Philippa Roe

Cabinet Member for Housing

Westminster Council

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