Council housing chief steps down after ‘Made in Chelsea’ social tenants gaffe
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Housing
A council's housing chief has been forced to step down after comparing social housing tenants to the “Made in Chelsea brigade" and claiming they lived a "champagne lifestyle".
Jonathan Glanz, Westminster Council's Conservative cabinet member for housing, has agreed to resign after sharing his opinions on the Conservative Home website, where he claimed that "heavily subsidised rents" on London council homes meant some tenants were living in houses usually only available to people with trust funds.
"With some social housing properties in Westminster and other central London boroughs valued at upwards of £2 million, a heavily subsidised rent on a two or three bedroom house a stone’s throw from Oxford Street might otherwise only be affordable for a so-called 'trustafarian'" wrote Glanz at the start of October.
Council leader Philippa Roe said that Glanz had caused offence. In a statement, she said: “I recognise that in councillor Glanz’s recent article about social housing tenants, his intention was to raise a serious point about the cost of housing in central London but I also recognise that his comments, as reported, may have caused offence.”
Westminster's Labour councillors have called for all the recent decisions made by Glanz in his capacity as housing chief to be reviewed, including his decision to sell a car park in Marylebone to Ridgeford Properties and Concord Pacific for a £250m development of luxury apartments.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: "Councillor Glanz's sacking will be welcomed by many West End residents who were insulted by his recent comments and his general lack of awareness or understanding of the West End community. He knows a lot about property values, but being a councillor is about more than selling council assets.
"Now that he has gone it makes sense to look again at the decision he made last week to sell the Moxon Street car park to see if all the relevant aspects were looked in to before the decision was made."