Local families move in to new houses in time for Christmas

The houses are the first to be completed following the launch last year of an innovative partnership between Ealing Council and UK housebuilder, Hill, that will eventually see 294 new homes built on 22 small and medium brownfield sites across the borough.

Khandra Khalif, mum to five children, and her husband had been living in cramped temporary accommodation for several years while they waited for a permanent home for their family. When she was presented with her keys, she said: “The kids are very happy to have somewhere to live which is calm and has more space and I know that they will be happy at school and will progress well.”

All London councils are currently experiencing a serious and growing problem with housing supply. The reduction in the number of homes built, steeply rising rents and government changes to benefit rules have led to a huge increase in the numbers of people being made homeless and turning to the council for help.

Many of these families are being placed in expensive, and often overcrowded, temporary accommodation while they wait for a permanent home to become available. This project will result in more quality homes becoming available to local families.

The sites are located across the borough and come in a range of sizes. They include a number of council-owned garages that are currently underused or vacant. When complete, the project will provide 115 homes for affordable and discounted rent, including a number of large family and wheelchair accessible properties, and 179 homes for private sale.

Traditionally, these plots of land would be difficult for the council to develop, because of their small size. However, the partnership with Hill means that the sites can be batched together into viable schemes and the revenue from the private sale homes will offset the cost of building the affordable and discounted rent properties. The next set of homes is due to be completed next year.

As well as families in dire housing need, Ealing Council is also keeping in mind the needs of those working and struggling to afford market rents, but do not qualify for a council property. The council has set up a company called Broadway Living and 32 of the new properties in Ruislip Road will be offered for discounted rent; below current market rates.

Councillor Jasbir Anand, cabinet member for housing, said: “Ealing, along with other London boroughs, is facing a major housing crisis. Increasing numbers of people are turning to the council in desperate need and at the same time the number of properties available to us is shrinking. It is a constant struggle for us to help people who find themselves in really terrible situations.

“Turning these underused brownfield sites into good quality, affordable housing is part of our creative and proactive approach to tackling this crisis and I am delighted for the families who have received the keys to their new home here today, just in time for Christmas.

Andy Hill, chief executive at Hill, said: “Our work will maximise the value of these disused sites, which are often harder to develop, and create high quality new homes for the borough. Ealing is leading the way in providing homes for local people and we are extremely pleased to be working with them. Better collaboration between local authorities and housebuilders is essential if we are to deliver the 50,000 homes that London needs each year.”