Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Bexley borough

Not a single affordable family home built in Bexley borough last year

Sidcup block approved in 2018 with zero affordable housing

According to figures just released Bexley borough saw no affordable homes built across the borough in the latest full data available.

The London Plan report states: “Bexley, Bromley, the City of London and Kingston upon Thames recorded no completions of affordable homes with three bedrooms or more.”

Low totals at new Bexleyheath blocks

But it wasn’t just family homes; there were no affordable homes built whatsoever in 2017/18 according to the 150 page report. This covers not just social homes (or council homes as formerly known) but any that fall under the so-called affordable bracket, which can still require high salaries to afford.

Previously Bexley Council had defended low totals and stated a longer time-span needed to be used, though this report shows that looking over a three year period just 3% were affordable which was the joint third lowest across London. That’s far below the already low London average of 17 per cent.

When looking at overall housing numbers Bexley had 276 net housing completions over the year. That’s below one of the lowest targets in London.

One reason for poor performance is Peabody’s extremely slow progress at various sites they own in the borough.

It took years for Peabody to start building

Since the announcement of Housing Zones six years ago they’ve only completed 66 homes at The Reach in Greenwich borough. Thamesmead Phase 1 work is now finally underway after nearly a decade of flattened rubble at the old Tavy Bridge.

Thamesmead – taken over the summer

Bexley Council have also passed a number of developments with either no affordable housing or very low totals. The council now recognises it needs to scrutinise Viability Assessment documents often used by developers to justify low totals, and is planning to better train staff.

Numbers should increase slowly with a number of planning approvals this financial year. Though with only 11 per cent of approvals being affordable, it won’t make much of a dent.

The report can be seen here.

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