Luxury apartment developments approved by the council and bought by rich buyers are ‘fuelling the housing crisis’, according to Battersea’s Liberal Democrat candidate.
Luke Taylor argued that that the price of new homes being built in Battersea power station, part of the gargantuan Nine Elms regeneration on the south bank, are out of reach for most people.
Mr Taylor said: “Our current MP has done nothing to ensure that the council meets its own targets for social and affordable housing.
“Instead they have watched the council build luxury apartments for foreign buyers and fuel the crisis of housing supply in London and said nothing.”
The starting price for a studio flat in Battersea Power Station is £495,000, while two-bed flats cost £1.2m and four-bed apartments are upwards of £3.2m.
BBC figures released late last year show that just three of the first 2,420 flats to be built there are family-sized, affordable homes.
The remaining 100 deemed affordable will be split between one and two bedrooms residences.
“I will hold them to account to ensure that all housing sold under right-to-buy is replaced, that housing benefit and right-to-buy fraud is prosecuted and that empty housing is brought back into use as quickly as possible,” he added.
Conservative Jane Ellison is seeking re-election in Battersea after unseating Labour’s incumbent of 15 years back in 2010.
“I think statistics on Nine Elms are a little unfair, across the Nine Elms development area the council has committed to 20% affordable housing and that will be once the whole scheme is delivered,” she said.
“Plus huge investment in the new tube and importantly the creation of 20,000 odd jobs – I think that’s a really important thing for all of the people in this constituency.
“I’ve worked hard for five years – now it’s up to the electorate to decide.”
Battersea’s Labour candidate Will Martindale is hoping to win back the seat from the Conservatives, following their victory five years ago with a 12.3% lead.
He also hopes to be the MP to fix Battersea’s housing market crisis where homeowners currently have the highest level of mortgage debt in the country and first-time buyers are faced with some of the capitals steepest asking prices.
Mr Martindale told those attending Battersea Question Time he is concerned at the lack of affordable housing the development will offer.
He said: “Just three of the first 2,400 homes at Battersea Power Stationn are affordable family-sized homes – this is unacceptable.”
UKIP’s Christopher Howe explained that he hopes to give power back to its residents.
“My vision for Battersea is for a community that has control of its own planning,” he said. “The democratic process is not being followed in Battersea.”
Mr Howe also contested the council’s decision to close down the local sports centre.
He said: “The controversial issue of the local council closing Battersea Sports Centre and uprooting it after being on its original and existing site for fifty years is of great local concern.”