Labour "Selling Off the Family Silver", as 9 Council Homes to Go Under the Hammer

3 Jul 2024
Cllr Victor Chamberlain and Cllr Rachel Bentley on Southwark Park Road where a council home is to be sold off

9 council homes across Southwark are to be auctioned off according to recently published decision notices. These are to be sold under new “fast track” rules meaning only assets of more than £3 million would require cabinet approval.

Earlier this year, the council increased the threshold up from £750,000. The Liberal Democrats at the time slammed the decision, saying that it would make it easier to “sell off the family silver”.

The Liberal Democrats also expressed concern that it would exacerbate social divides in the borough, leaving “high value” areas the preserve of the wealthy if social homes continue to be lost there.

Meanwhile, the number of council homes approved at planning stage and starting construction have plummeted, with just 16 approvals and 28 starts in 2023/2024.

Last year, there were reports that the council could sell off a property worth up to £3 million in Borough and Bankside, which the council denied at the time, citing the cabinet sign off rule it will no longer fall under.

The homes, which the Liberal Democrats understand would previously have reached the old £750,000 threshold, are in Rye Lane, Rotherhithe, Borough and Bankside, South Bermondsey, Goose Green, Champion Hill, North Walworth, Camberwell Green, and Faraday. The council will also sell a commercial asset it owns in Dulwich.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Victor Chamberlain said

“It is scandalous to be selling off council homes when so many are desperately needed, especially in the most expensive areas of our borough. Selling off the family silver is not the right approach, and now we’re seeing the result of Labour’s choice to fast-track these decisions.

Selling off commercial assets is short-term thinking. We need to be sweating our assets to generate long term income, not flogging them off for a one-off windfall”

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