Hillingdon Conservatives allowing too much private housing, Labour leader argues


By PASQUELINE AGOSTINHO


Leader of the Labour group at Hillingdon, Councillor Peter Curling, has criticised the Hillingdon Conservatives for having to much private housing in the borough.

In an interview, he said that Hillingdon Conservatives always had an “ideological position that’s been against social housing”. This comes after the housing proposals announced in the Council’s Budget Report two weeks ago.

The Conservatives announced a £177.8 million budget to increase housing as well as £70 million to improve existing housing stock and a £31.4 million investment in Hillingdon First Limited to deliver new private homes. Leader of the Council, councillor Ian Edwards commented that this is all the council can afford this year.

In an earlier interview, Cllr Edwards explained the reason private housing will also be built as part of the budget and said that he believed that “mixed communities are more sustainable” and “we don’t believe in having council areas and then private areas”.

However, Cllr Curling said that whilst he agrees on this, he believes that the Conservatives’ idea of mixed communities are “segregated” communities within an area using High Point Village as an example, where it is supposed to be a mixed community as they have several private housing units and several social housing units but said: “they’ve segregated the two, so they are not mixed at all”.

Adding to the mixed communities element, Cllr Edwards said: “If I build a flat and sell it privately, there is a profit element, and that profit element subsidises the build of council and social housing” arguing that it is a “subsidy from a property renter to a social renter”.

But Cllr Curling said that “a lot of these places have been bought and sold many times before they’re even built” and “by the time they are built they have risen in value so much”. Cllr Curling believes that there should be regulations on this system on buying for investing “rather than buying to have a home”.

419 housing units will be built with more than 10,000 existing housing units due for improvement. Cllr Edwards said that the council “aims to bring all homes up to a decent standard. A way of scoring our housing is to ensure that it reaches what is recognised as a decent home”.

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