Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mayor Attacks Councils over 'Lack of Affordable Housing'; Room for Some. an Artist's Impression of One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge That Is Being Developed by Christian and Nick Candy. the Required Affordable Housing Is Two Miles Away

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mayor Attacks Councils over 'Lack of Affordable Housing'; Room for Some. an Artist's Impression of One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge That Is Being Developed by Christian and Nick Candy. the Required Affordable Housing Is Two Miles Away

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

KEN LIVINGSTONE has gone into battle with two flagship Conservativeboroughs over affordable housingdespite them being among the best in London at providing new homes.

The Mayor has sought to "name and shame" Wandsworth because of its lowproportion of affordable homes and because it makes far more propertiesavailable to key workers than low-income families.

He has also attacked Hammersmith and Fulham for seeking to reduce itsaffordability target from 65 per cent to 40 per centbelow the "aspirational" 50 per cent London benchmarkeven though the council has provided a greater percentage of low-cost homesthan any other borough over a threeyear period.

Hammersmith and Fulham has accused the Mayor of being obsessed with targets,claiming that its aim of increasing the overall supply of homes from 450 a yearto between 600 and 650 will also mean more affordable propertiesa minimum of 240 a year, compared with its mayoral target of 225.

The Mayor said he expected Wandsworth's housing plans to be rejected by anindependent inspector because the council had failed to set a target foraffordable homes for rent. He wants half of all new developments in London tobe "affordable". Of these homes, seven in 10 should be for rentakin to old-fashioned council housingand the remaining three available for purchase or part-purchase in schemesnormally favoured by key workers.

At the heart of the debate is Mr Livingstone's belief that rented property isthe only way of providing decent homes for the 60,000 homeless households inthe capital and the 200,000 in temporary accommodation.

He said: "For the great majority of these families, social rented housingoffers the only affordable way out of desperate circumstances. It isdisgraceful that Wandsworth councillors should ignore their poorest residentsby failing to make provision for them." Wandsworth believes that it isimportant to offer homes for purchase as well as renta move that is in line with government policy to promote shared ownership.

But it has pioneered a "hidden homes" programme under which it has built morecouncil properties than any other local authority in London130 to date, with a target of 300. …

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