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Westminster Council accused of 'passing the problem off' as it reveals plans for affordable housing in Housnlow

Westminster Council said the plan offers an 'innovative' solution to housing demand, but opponents say more homes should be built in the borough

Westminster say its plans are 'innovative'(Image: Westminster City Council)

Westminster City Council has come under fire for building new affordable homes for its residents - in Hounslow.

The Conservative administration say the move is “an innovative way of meeting demand”, but others have argued it is the latest example of the council moving low income residents out of the borough.

The multi-million pound deal with Galliard Homes will see Westminster residents move into 24 new-build homes in Hounslow.

Hounslow Council leader Steve Curran is understood to be unhappy with the arrangement. He said: “I have written to the leader of Westminster Council raising my concerns.”

Adam Hug, leader of the Labour opposition group in Westminster said: “This is a worry because it is another step in Westminster saying ‘we do not have responsibility to look after you in our borough, we are passing the problem off to Hounslow’.”

Last year Westminster was rapped by Thurrock Council over its plans to move homeless families to Essex.

Cllr Hug argued that residents moved to the outer London borough would face a two hour bus ride to return to Westminster, and that the council should be looking to build more genuinely affordable homes within its own boundaries.

But Westminster defended its action, saying despite building hundreds of new affordable homes locally it is still struggling to deal with demand.

Cllr Daniel Astaire, Westminster housing chief, said 494 affordable homes were completed within the borough between 2013 to 2016 and a projected 223 will be completed between 2016 to 2017.

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“Despite this, it is not always possible to house everyone in Westminster,” he said.

“People can wait for 10 years or more for social housing here.

"Purchasing 24 high quality new homes in Hounslow is an innovative way of meeting this demand and providing people with a stable home more quickly.

Adam Hug, leader of the opposition Labour group in Westminster(Image: UGC TMS)

“These homes are in a location with excellent local amenities and nearby transport facilities so that households who need to travel into Westminster for work, education or social reasons can do so quickly and at reasonable cost.”

He said families will not be forced to move into the new-builds, and that working households will have added priority.

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Cllr Astaire added: “These properties have been purchased following Hounslow’s own planning process which will have taken into account the impact on local services, and just like all other residents, people moving into these homes will be paying council tax for access to any of these local services.”

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Cllr Hug added: “The council should invest that money in creating new council homes in Westminster rather than allowing thousands of luxury flats to be built in our city while pushing out our council tenants to Zone 5.”

Labour-run Hounslow Council said it was unable to add to Cllr Curran’s comment at this time.

The homes will be completed in autumn 2017.

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