Hammersmith & Fulham ‘Borough of Opportunity’ encourages affordable home ownership


The council has signalled its return to house building by revealing proposals to construct a total of 25 new affordable properties.


By Robert Edwards

Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council has signalled its return to house building by revealing proposals to construct a total of 25 new affordable properties.

The council announced last year that it would be establishing its own local housing company to help local residents get onto the property ladder and create what it calls a ‘Borough of Opportunity’.

H&F has the UK’s fourth highest house prices. The proposals, which are still subject to resident consultation and planning approval, will give locals on low to middle incomes an opportunity to own their own home at a discounted market rate.

Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: “Hammersmith & Fulham is an extremely polarised borough for housing, with some of the most expensive house prices in Britain, yet one of the highest proportions of social housing in London.

“We are committed to addressing this by seeking to help more of our residents onto the property ladder through the promotion of low cost home ownership for those on low to middle incomes.

“Rather than be reliant upon developers and housing associations bringing forward sites for new affordable homes, we have taken the decision ourselves.”

H&F Council argue that through the local housing development company structure they will be able to maximise its financial return, retain the benefit of any affordable housing that is developed and maintain greater control over the design of the new housing schemes.

The plans follow the government’s Autumn Statement, which includes proposals for a multimillion-pound public fund intended to underwrite part of risk in the buyer’s mortgage.

The Opposition and critics call this too little, too late for the UK’s worsening housing crisis.

Eileen Short, chairwoman of Defend Council Housing (DCH) rejected the proposals, arguing: “Publicly-owned land is being used to build more private housing.

“These 25 homes will not be affordable and do nothing to address the real and increasingly desperate homelessness, overcrowding and waiting lists.   

“Throwing public money at subsidies for private developers is not an answer – 25 people end up with a mortgage they can’t afford, when this land could be used to build new, high quality council homes.

“What we need is serious investment to improve and build new council housing. This is the way to create the decent, genuinely-affordable, secure and accountable homes people need.” 

The council will be writing to all residents of H&F, Becklow Gardens, Shepherds Bush and Barons Court. Public consultation events are due in February before plans are finalised.

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