A PLAN to build up to 100 new homes for key workers near Westfield could be ditched, as council bosses try to free up cash set aside for the project to spend elsewhere.

The owners of the giant shopping mall committed £2.4million to the housing scheme seven years ago.

They spent another £3m preparing a site next to the centre's new bus station, but the work was later abandoned.

Now Hammersmith and Fulham Council hopes to alter the arrangement to allow the money to be spent on anything from extra CCTV cameras to town centre improvements.

Subsidised workshop space to help new businesses - also promised as part of the agreement with Westfield in 2002 - are likely to be ditched if the authority's planning committee agrees the move next week.

Councillors are also being urged to approve controversial changes to a block of flats planned on the site of a derelict office block in central Hammersmith.

This will see the number of flats rise from 67 to 81 while the number of shared ownership homes falls from 14 to just five.

It would mean the proportion of affordable housing in the seven-storey block in Glenthorne Road falls from 21 per cent to six per cent - far below the 50 per cent target set by the Mayor of London.

Critics claim council planning officers have become too willing to accept the claims of private developers that schemes with a significant amount of low-cost housing are no longer commercially viable due to the recession.

Andy Slaughter, the MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush and former council leader, said: "The £2.4m that Westfield provided as a subsidy for affordable homes will now be available for general environmental improvements. All these deals that we negotiated are now being unpicked."

He claimed the two planning applications are symptomatic of a wider push by the Conservatives to discourage people on lower incomes from living in the borough.

"The poor are being made to pay for doing nothing other than having the temerity to live in an area which they think ought to be reserved for wealthy people," he said.

The council report on the Westfield money recommends that the focus should remain on providing key worker housing elsewhere in the borough. It also allows for the cash to be used on a wide variety of other environmental improvements.

A council spokeswoman said: "Overall, Hammersmith and Fulham Council is committed to providing more affordable housing.

That is why we are exceeding even the previous mayor's own targets by planning for 6,500 new homes in 10 years, 44 per cent more than targets laid down in the London Plan.

"However, each development needs to be looked at on its own merits. We cannot have a one-size fits all approach."

Dylan May, land director of Linden Homes, which is developing the Glenthorne Road site, said: "Linden Homes purchased the neglected site before the dramatic downturn in the housing market.

"As land values have since plummeted, it would not be commercially viable for the company to develop the proposal for new homes without reducing the levels of affordable housing which had previously been agreed."

He added: "We are committed to developing a high quality residential scheme in Hammersmith, and we were pleased to learn that council planning officers are recommending that the revised application is approved by the committee."