The Ebury Bridge renewal has been labelled a “crushing disappointment” for renters due to a lack of housing provision for temporary workers in the city.
Three Conservative councillors criticised the scheme to regenerate the Pimlico estate, saying that it will cut out over 100 local people and families who would have benefitted from intermediate rental homes, as well as the segregation of different tenures.
Since taking over the council last year, Labour has prioritised affordable social rental housing, with the Ebury Bridge renewal no longer slated to deliver any of the originally planned 86 intermediate rental homes.
Explaining their reasons for calling in the decision to approve the proposals, Councillors David Harvey, Alan Mendoza and Elizabeth Hitchcock said: “It will be a crushing disappointment to the people who work in Westminster and thus make it what it is, that their life options will be limited by the huge reduction in intermediate rental homes from 126 to 21.
“This means that 105 local people and families who had hoped to live in Pimlico so that they could work locally will no longer have a chance.
“Surely, with Mayoral funding it would be possible to build more social homes without making it even more difficult for the teacher, the office worker, vet assistant, council worker, nurse, or skilled SME worker to live in Westminster so sustaining an inclusive community?”
They further criticised the decision to separate homeowners and renters, quoting the late former Welsh Labour Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan.
“We thought that people coming together to live next door to each other on the Ebury estate will be able to do just that. But instead, a decision has been made to separate social, intermediate and market homes.
“To paraphrase Aneurin Bevan, where the council is building homes, the home owner, the private renter, and the social housing tenant should all live in the same street for social cohesion.”
Councillors are able to call in decisions which they believe either contravene council policy or its agreed budget, or to request further information.
Residents are currently voting in a ballot on the scheme, due to close on February 16, but the Council has said the regeneration will still continue even if it is a “no” vote, although it would no longer have access to GLA funding.
It said in the event of a majority dissent, it would be forced to revisit plans for the distribution of affordable housing.
The call in will be considered by the Climate Action, Housing and Regeneration Policy and Scrutiny Committee next Wednesday, who can either decide to note the comments and taken no further action, or refer the matter back to the cabinet member for reconsideration.
The Ebury Bridge renewal is one of two major council regeneration schemes, the other being in the Church Street area, which combined will deliver over 300 new affordable social rent homes.
Image: Westminster City Council.