MP Andy Slaughter Accuses Council of "Social Cleansing"
Following deal with developer to replace council houses with homes for sale
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter has accused Hammersmith and Fulham Council of "social cleansing" after a Financial Times report about a deal between the council and developer Stanhope which the paper says " will see hundreds and possibly thousands of council housing in Hammersmith & Fulham demolished and replaced with properties for sale."
The Labour MP says: " An article in the Financial Times exposes Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s latest attempt to bulldoze affordable homes and turn the sites into luxury flats.
" The scheme is a ‘joint venture’ with developer Stanhope - owners of the Television Centre site which received planning permission for over 1000 luxury homes on 19 December - which both they and the Council will fund and profit from.
" The Council’s investment in the speculative scheme comes from selling the best quality existing Council homes as they become vacant. So far over 200 such homes have been sold and 150 left empty for development. That’s 350 local families forced out of the area or housed in expensive, overcrowded or unfit flats."
The Financial Time feature reveals that Hammersmith and Fulham has sold off 209 empty council houses in the past four years, raising £88.5m cash, according to data disclosed to Mr Slaughter under the Freedom Of Information Act. The council said that it would spend the proceeds on the development of new homes.
The paper says the council will put two initial sites of 150 existing social rented homes into the joint venture, replacing them with 300 homes for sale, of which 40 per cent will be sold at a discount to their market price.
All the current homes on both sites are empty. Some have been unoccupied for several years. Mr Slaughter said that some former residents, his constituents, complained they had been "tricked into moving out of their homes to allow improvements works then not permitted to return".
You can read the full Financial Times story here
Andy Slaughter continues: " The basic angle is a familiar H&F approach – how do we build more luxury flats and get rid of affordable ones in the process. But there are several more twists here that make it more blatantly political.
" Current schemes are like the Earl’s Court/West Ken partnership with Capco which aims to replace 760 council or ex-council houses and flats with ten times the number of luxury high-rise flats. This notionally includes replacement floor space for the demolished homes on similar terms, but there is no guarantee they will end up as affordable.
" But the new Stanhope deal offers even less to low income or average earners. The council tenants evicted from their homes will be offered existing council flats, but they are just jumping ahead of other families who would have been re-housed, the stock is still shrinking."
He adds: " I have written to the Chief Executive of Stanhope which claims to be a leader in ‘responsibility to the community’ asking them to withdraw from the scheme."
You can read his letter to the CEO here