London boroughs are building homes outside the capital because they've run out of room

A Westminster councillor said: 'We cannot meet all our housing needs within the city’s boundaries'

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The Independent Online

The housing shortage in London is now so chronic that borough councils are planning to build homes outside the capital as "there isn’t enough space."

Westminster City Council’s draft housing strategy outlines plans to partner with other councils and build homes outside the capital, in an attempt to keep up with demand for affordable housing.

Westminster’s plan outlines that it hopes to work with other town halls to develop properties outside of London, "helping address London’s chronic housing shortage."

Councillor Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for housing, regeneration, business and economic development, said: "We cannot meet all our housing needs within the city’s boundaries – there isn’t enough space and what there is is among the most expensive in the UK.

"Pressure on housing in central London is unprecedented and enormous. No one local authority acting alone can solve this very complex problem.

"We will take a lead in working with other boroughs and the mayor to develop some fresh ideas and I hope this draft strategy will start the debate."

An investigation by The Independent in April found that more than 50,000 families were silently shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years.

Wandsworth Borough Council was also recently accused of "social cleansing" after a letter encouraging tenants to move from London to Birmingham was shared by hundreds of people on social media.

The letter told the recipient that the council would pay the tenant/s for "bedrooms given up", as well as helping with the cost of moving, and was alleged to have targeted pensioners in particular, due to their exemption from the bedroom tax.

Cllr Astaire said: "We are a council of action, not words. This year we’ll lay foundations for 350 new homes as part of an investment of over £60 million to provide more high quality homes. We can, and will, do more."

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