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Westminster council slammed for 'wanting more luxury flats in borough'

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Westminster council slammed for 'wanting more luxury flats in borough'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Development, Housing

Westminster council slammed for 'wanting more luxury flats in borough' Westminster council slammed for 'wanting more luxury flats in borough'

Westminster City Council's Conservatives want to increase the number of luxury houses and flats in the borough, according to Labour.

Councillors have slammed a "sales brochure" distributed at last week's London Real Estate Forum that states that the council’s "development opportunity area in north Westminster offers space for future growth, only moments from the West End".

According to Labour, as part of a plan to “encourage development and increase density”, the council is planning the demolition of social homes and their replacement with luxury apartments and new office developments, which will extend the West End northwards into Paddington and the rest of north Westminster.

The council's leaflet says that “prime office rents are rising faster than other cities”. But, Labour has claimed, it fails to mention that the cost of a one-bed West End apartment is now out of reach of even a well-paid professional person.

Responding to Labour's charges, cllr Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “The council’s ambition is to make Westminster a city of opportunity for everyone, this leaflet says nothing different to that.

“We have delivered 5,000 new homes in Westminster in the last four years, including 800 affordable homes, exceeding the Mayor of London’s targets set for this area. Our own housing regeneration plans, which includes a number of estates in the north of the city will provide over 1,000 homes, of which half will be affordable.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour Group leader, said: “Westminster Conservatives have already made the West End unaffordable to all but the super-rich and they now want to make the rest of Westminster unaffordable by encouraging even more luxury apartments.

"Let’s get one thing absolutely clear, there is no luxury housing crisis in Westminster. But there is an affordable housing crisis in Westminster and the rest of central London and we need to build more social housing.

“Westminster Conservatives call North Westminster and Paddington an 'Opportunity Area'. But for whom is this an 'Opportunity Area'? Is this an opportunity for local residents living in overcrowded conditions or is the council creating opportunities for people wanting another buy-to-let property investment to add to their portfolio?

"The council should be acting on behalf of the people of Westminster by building more social housing, rather than encouraging the kind of casino-economy development that will push price up and residents out.

“Communities in North Westminster and Paddington will resist the area being turned in to a ‘playground for the rich’. Investors thinking of spending money going in to partnership with Westminster Conservatives should do so with their eyes open.

"Labour Councillors will only support regeneration if there is a real gain in the number of social housing homes to be built. We believe in balanced communities where people of all walks of life can live and work."

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