Southwark Council has been slammed for building just 65 new council homes in the last five years.
Since 2010 more than 1,500 council homes have been sold or demolished while a “dismal” number have been built, including 40 brand new properties and 25 ‘hidden homes’ –created in disused pockets of council estates.
An additional 153 properties have been bought back from leaseholders over the same period but the Southwark Liberal Democrats have criticised the council for its “slow progress” in meeting its own target of building 11,000 new council homes over the next 30 years.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Councillor Ben Johnson, said: “We have a housing crisis in Southwark and these dismal figures show just how far behind the Labour council is in building new homes for local residents….it seems that Labour have made all these promises to residents without thinking through how or where all these new homes will go. It’s not fair to raise expectations like this when it could be up to 30 years before these new homes materialise.”
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said these recent figures do not show the 3,760 new ‘affordable homes’ the council has built since 2010. These are normally charged at up to 80 percent of market rents but Cllr Williams said almost half of the total were set at social rent levels.
“We are doing all we can to tackle the housing crisis head-on,” said Cllr Williams, who added 1,500 of the 11,000 council homes pledged would be finished by 2018 with residents moving into the first properties this month.
“The coalition government that the Liberal Democrats propped up slashed the social house building grant, pushed through higher affordable rents and increased the discount for Right to Buy, which is costing the council on average six properties every week.
“For the past five years the Lib Dems were more worried with keeping their Conservative bosses happy than standing up for the people of Southwark, which is one of the reasons they were so roundly rejected at the ballot box,” he said.