Inspector says Wandsworth housing policy inadequate

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The Independent Online
A DEPARTMENT of Environment inspector has rejected the housing policies of Tory-controlled Wandsworth council in south London, and called for changes, writes Ngaio Crequer.

The report by the inspector, D P Machin, follows a public inquiry into the borough's Unitary Development Plan. He says Wandsworth has not assessed the need for 'affordable housing' for people on low incomes, nor has it made a real commitment to meeting that need. In doing so, it had not followed government advice.

The report is a further blow to the Government, following last week's report on Westminster.

The report by the inspector follows a public inquiry last spring. Objectors complained that the Unitary Development Plan, which covers housing, transport, and support services, failed to prepare for or analyse housing need.

Critics accuse the council of a policy of 'decanting' tenants in marginal wards, in order to sell estates to private developers.

The inspector says the Department of Environment advised councils that the starting point was a survey of needs.

For Wandsworth's housing policy to be credible, the exercise had to be carried out, he said. Other councils were doing it.

A Wandsworth spokesman said the inspector's report would be presented to a planning committee next month. 'We say we have sufficient information about our needs, and more than half the homes built by housing associations are 'affordable homes'.'