Tower Hamlets ‘U-turn’ on Mayor Rahman’s family homes ‘fire sale’

One of the 'fire sale' houses... in Bruce Rd, Bromley-by-Bow

One of the 'fire sale' houses... in Bruce Rd, Bromley-by-Bow - Credit: TH Lab Pty

Plans for a ‘fire sale’ of council-owned family housing in London’s East End—with its chronic 24,000 waiting list—have been halted.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman has been forced to back down over 12 ‘surplus’ properties that were going to be put on the market, Tower Hamlets Opposition councillors claim.

‘Short life’ properties included terraced Victorian houses in Bromley-by-Bow and Whitechapel, all having been earmarked to be sold off.

But the Mayor has been “forced into a U-turn on the fire sale”, say Opposition councillors, and has agreed to refurbish the houses instead.

“Selling council homes for a quick cash fix is completely irresponsible,” said Labour’s Opposition housing spokesman Sirajul Islam. “We have a waiting list of almost 24,000 families.

“But the Mayor has finally listened to reason and stopped trying to sell off this much-needed family housing.”

Councillors are urging the Mayor not to treat residents’ homes as “soulless assets to be sold off for short term gain.”

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A council Cabinet report states the properties could be “very desirable homes, but their current poor state of repair requires considerable investment to bring them up to standard.”

Cllr Helal Uddin, whose Bromley-by-Bow ward includes several properties that had been earmarked for a sell-off, said: “The properties are large family homes, exactly the type the East End needs most—now we’ve managed to keep them in public ownership for the benefit of residents rather than private developers.”

Some 14 similar council-owned properties have already been sold off in the past two years, councillors revealed. These included houses with up to six bedrooms.

The Housing Waiting list currently has 23,957 applicants, including 1,800 families in need of four-bed accommodation.