Borough’s house building record criticised by Labour councillor

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 July 2018

Havering Council estates will be redeveloped. Picture: PA

Havering Council estates will be redeveloped. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

A councillor has defended the number of “truly affordable” homes homes built in Bexley over the past 12 months.

Councillor Dave Putson quizzed the council over what he claimed was a “dire housing shortage” in the borough.

It comes following claims there are currently 2,000 people in 1,261 emergency homes in the borough.

The Belvedere councillor said the situation was being made worse by a landlord technicality called a section 21 notice – an eviction notice that means families can be told to leave quickly, with no explanation, once their contract expires.

Pressure groups want to remove that order to make it harder to evict tenants.

Cllr Putson said: “We know that landlords can make the decision to without explanation take back properties from families.

“Those families that immediately comply with possession orders do not become a local authority’s responsibility. Those who receive an order and wait for eviction do.

“There are 2,000 people in emergency homes – with your current numbers, how many decades will it take to house those families in temporary accommodation?”

Bexley Council has an ambitious growth programme to deliver more than 30,000 homes in the next 30 years, and Cllr Louie French defended the council’s numbers.

He said: “What is affordable to one family isn’t affordable to another.

“In total 136 affordable housing completions in Bexley in 2017/18, of which 51 per cent were affordable rented homes and 49 per cent were intermediate housing which covers the likes of right to buy.

“In the same period construction of 164 affordable housing homes started on site and this comprised 35 per cent affordable rented housing and 65 per cent intermediate homes.

“We are quite clear in our growth strategy which had cross-party support that with the right infrastructure and setting out good growth we can deliver 31,500 homes.

“It has to be about the right homes at the right place and the infrastructure to support that.

“In terms of what we’ve built, over the last decade more than 2,000 homes have been built, and there;s a pipeline of over 700 homes with planning consent in the borough.”

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