Council Switches Housing in Development to Social Rent

Seeking new sites to meet target of building 1,000 council homes

Cllr Aydin Dikerdem at the topping out of the Kerslake Estate in Putney
Cllr Aydin Dikerdem at the topping out of the Kerslake Estate in Putney

A meeting of Wandsworth Council’s Executive Committee this Monday (10 October) has approved a range of proposals which aim to help the administration reach a target of building 1,000 new council homes.

To kick-start the programme, housing under development will be switched to council rent. This will include all 41 homes on the new Kersfield Estate in Putney instead of the 14 originally planned.

The committee agreed the proposals that will make all homes within the council’s ‘1,000 Homes Programme’ available for council rent. The original scheme approved under the previous Conservative administration had a range of different tenures with only 442 of the homes available at social rent.

About half the homes in the programme have already been completed, were under construction or had obtained planning approval.

As well as switching housing under development, the council will be seeking new sites to develop council housing.

The council has also agreed that they will seek to increase affordable home delivery by working with developers, landowners and Registered Providers to deliver the maximum level of affordable housing within new developments and it has outlined that they deem social rent to be the most appropriate form of low cost rented homes and recommends the discontinuation of the Part Right to Buy Scheme.

Further to this, the committee has agreed that the council provides additional funding to expand its current Property Acquisition Programme. This will increase the number of new properties the Council will acquire from 32 to 50.

Cllr Aydin Dikerdem, Cabinet Member for Housing, said, “Delivering more affordable housing and maximising the council’s stock of affordable housing is a key target for this administration. The series of recommendations approved by the Housing Committee yesterday sets us off in the right direction of travel.

“Wandsworth is an ambitious council and we are proposing a number of sensible policies that seek to support the most vulnerable in our society.”

Conservative councillors have raised concerns about the authority needing to borrow more cash for the programme and whether the administration is doing enough for private renters or people wanting to own their homes.

Conservative councillor Daniel Ghossain said, “What hope do you offer to people who come from families like my own who don’t aspire to live in social housing all their life, who may want the security of their own home, who may want to buy their own council home? Is there any hope for those families under this Labour administration?”

Andy Algar, assistant director of regeneration and development at the council, countered, “Whilst it might be borrowed money, these are fixed assets that produce income and provide homes and borrowing to build is a model that most local authorities adopt in one form or another.”

Almost half of the 1,000 homes promised had been completed, were being built or had planning approval in January this year. The council will now switch existing sites that are being built to council rent and identify new sites for the programme. This includes switching all 41 homes on the new Kersfield Estate in Putney to council rent, instead of the 14 originally planned.

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October 12, 2022