Shock new figures have revealed that just 44 new council homes have been built since 2010 compared to 1,721 homes either sold or demolished.
At the last council elections, Southwark Labour promised in its manifesto to build 11,000 new council homes over the next thirty years. To date though progress has been slow while the number of council properties sold under the right-to-buy or by the Council for cash, or knocked down as part of the Council’s regeneration plans has soared.
Southwark Labour councillors have also come under fire for the number of new schemes, especially in the north of the borough, gaining planning permission where developers have been allowed to ignore the borough’s 35% affordable housing target. Instead developers are allowed to pay cash for future council housing often in a different part of the borough.
The figures on the numbers of new council homes built since 2010 when Labour came to power in the borough compared to the numbers sold or demolished were provided in answer to questions by Liberal Democrat councillors.
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. A net loss of over 1,600 council homes is nothing to be proud of.
“Liberal Democrats want to see more new council homes. But 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.
“In the meantime, Labour councillors should be following their own policies and ensuring that any new developments have the required amount of affordable housing. Too many times the Council just accepts the developers’ money and excuses instead of the homes so desperately needed.
“The Council needs to ensure proper balanced communities with new homes of all types built in all parts of the borough. Trying to play catch-up over thirty years with vague promises of thousands of new council homes with no idea where they will go is not good enough.”