and 20% is already set to be sold off!
Updated details emerged this week of the council’s new council housing programme – the ‘New Homes Better Places’ programme which aims to deliver 250 council houses by 2017. So far just 6 homes are underway though 98 are planned to be under construction by next spring.
We welcome these new council developments, though we urge the council to develop a more ambitious plan which will tackle the housing waiting list of over 8,000 households – a list which grew by 8.8% last year – and has seen a shocking 28% increase in households accepted as homeless in just four years.
In light of this dire local need we were extremely shocked to find that the mayor’s flagship council housing program involves selling off 20% of the units as private sales1. So the 250 houses, already far too few in the face of dire local need, is set to be just 200, with 50 sold off as private sales on completion.
The most critical factor in the local housing crisis isn’t a lack of properties to buy, but the lack of properties to rent at truly affordable levels. The council’s proposed interest private sales is part of the problem: will these properties be sold to buy-to-let landlords leading to hiked market rents, pricing out local people even further, people who – unable to afford the market rents - may then find themselves languishing at the end of the council’s growing housing waiting list.
By selling off 20% of this flagship development the council is only creating a dangerous cycle of housing crisis, for example: the details of the sell off were released at the same time that it releases figures showing a £2 million overspend on temporary accommodation like hostels and B&Bs last year2 – an overspend which is closely linked to the lack of council housing for rent.
We call on the council to rethink its decision to play at being a property developer and deliver the social housing it has promised in its election manifesto as part of an ambitious programme to tackle the housing crisis.
The people of Lewisham, in particular the 8,000 plus households on the council housing waiting list and the 603 households living in hostels and B&Bs, deserve much better.
Lewisham Defend Council Housing
You can reach us by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
On twitter: @LewishamDCH
Also for update on awesome amount of Housing actions see;www.peoplebeforeprofit.org.uk