Kensington & ChelseaNews

Rising costs leading to delays in creating new homes in Kensington and Chelsea

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

Kensington and Chelsea council has announced further delays to building 101 new homes because of spiralling costs.

The council’s New Homes Delivery Programme seeks to build 600 new homes including 300 for social rent, alongside key worker, open market homes to rent and other community and employment facilities.

The homes are intended to be built in three phases, with 194 promised by the end of 2025, to provide some of the first homes in decades the council has built and run itself.

But the borough’s housing lead, Councillor Sof McVeigh, said the timeframe for completing the New Homes Programme had to be “stretched” and hinted at working with developers to see the scheme through.

An approach to Cllr McVeigh to clarify the new timeline was directed to the council press office, which said there had been no committed date for completing the entire scheme.

A report by the council shows works at Latymer Church, Edenham Way, Walmer Road and Lancaster Road have been frozen as the local authority grapples with rising energy costs.

These have been caused by the war in Ukraine, the price of construction materials as well as a labour shortage of skilled trades like plumbers and plasters and interest rate hikes.

Speaking to housing committee colleagues on Tuesday, Cllr McVeigh said: “After the Grenfell tragedy, my predecessor, [Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith], made a commitment that the council start delivering new homes again.

“What we did not envisage at the time was that the running tide of world events drastically pushed up construction costs to a record level and has seen inflation at a generational high. That has really impacted our programme.”

She added: “We’ve always said we were going to build on council land… but that is vanishingly small so I think the delivery might be more through working with some of the larger land masses that we have, which developers own. I would still like to stick to the 600 but it might need to be delivered in slightly different ways.”

A statement by the councillor read: “Despite the challenging climate in which we are working, we are still committed to delivering safe and secure homes as part of our New Homes Programme, and that at least half of them will be for social rent.

“We are always looking at the best way to deliver new homes for our residents especially in the current climate.”

“We are already working with development partner, Mount Anvil to deliver the Lots Road scheme in the south of the borough. We were delighted to welcome tenants into our first new homes at Hewer Street last year, with more due to move in during 2024.”

Pictured top: A CGI of the 54 St Helens Gardens development – one of the sites where works have stopped (Picture: RBKC council)

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