An application has been made to demolish Sidcup library on Hadlow Road for a block of 32 flats.
A new library is set to open in the cinema currently under construction on the High Street.
There are zero affordable homes despite this site being public land.
Bexley Council have tried to state shared ownership homes are affordable, but after a mortgage, additional rent and then service charge they are anything but in most instances.
A lack of any truly affordable homes seems even more financially bizarre given the authority have been paying millions in emergency and temporary housing costs owing to a lack of affordable homes.
It was a major factor in the councils recent financial problems which saw substantial jobs losses, service cuts and an appeal for help from government.
In the last full financial year of 2020/21, Bexley’s housing overspend was £4.653 million:
The council has a duty to house certain people, and doing so in private accommodation is vastly more expensive than in social housing.
The authority have been able to pass some expenditure off to central Government as Covid-related costs (this still of course costs taxpayers), yet there’s no guarantee how long they can do that.
The most recent cabinet meeting spells out the danger for this financial year:
“The Council were advised that circa 600 cases for Warrants are with local Courts and it is now clear via the increase in numbers in those presenting for assistance that the Bailiffs have started their work.
By way of example, in May 2021, 17 clients were placed in temporary accommodation. In June this rose to 19.
But the situation is complex as we also have an active programme to move clients who have been living in temporary accommodation for some time so the total each month will not necessarily be a total net increase.
That said, there is no doubt pressures will increase over coming months”
Bexley refusing to build truly affordable housing on public land doesn’t help with “an active programme to move clients who have been living in temporary accommodation for some time”
This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. In Erith they approved building on a park with zero truly affordable homes.
They’ll get some short term income, but in the mid to long term taxpayers lose out as high fees are paid to private landlords and emergency housing providers, often at an extremely high nightly rate for long periods of time.
A steadfast refusal to build affordable homes – and not expensive homes masquerading as affordable – is not only costing those who need secure housing but every taxpayer who is seeing other services cut.
Still Bexley Council proceed along the same path that has failed them before.
You can view the new application by clicking here.