In a landmark decision, Tory-run Hammersmith & Fulham council in west London has given the go ahead for a major private housing development to be built in the White City area – scrapping plans to provide new homes for working people at “affordable” rents.
It raises fears that in “prestigious” neighbourhoods, councils will only approve construction of homes for sale.
This will force those who cannot afford to buy a home to move.
There is a waiting list of 8,000 for council homes in Hammersmith & Fulham.
Originally the development was to provide half of the new homes built at “affordable” prices – half to private buyers at “intermediate” prices and half for rent at “social rent” to those who could not afford to buy.
The plans that have now been approved by the council cut “affordable” accommodation to just 39 percent of the new homes, and none will be for rent.
The Greater London Authority has the power to block such developments and did so up until the election of Tory Boris Johnson as mayor in May.
Now Johnson has chosen not to intervene, despite a pledge to provide 50,000 new affordable homes across London by 2011.
It revives fears that Tory councils might return to the policies adopted by Westminster council in the 1980s of driving council tenants out of swathes of the borough which became preserves of the Tory-voting rich.