Kensington & ChelseaNews

Volatile economy means borough will not build some of its planned developments

By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter

A west London council is “unlikely” to build some of its planned developments as the economy is too volatile.

Plans for some new social and affordable housing in Kensington and Chelsea – London’s priciest borough – might be axed due to cost pressures from Brexit, Covid-19, rising energy bills and the war in Ukraine.

The council plans to build about 600 new homes across the borough, with at least half of them marked for social rent.

The local authority also plans to spend £460million on revamping its existing homes over the next nine years, and has already started this work.

But some plans may be delayed or scrapped due to inflation and increasing cost pressures, according to reports by the council’s director of housing and social investment, Dan Hawthorn.

In a report, Mr Hawthorn said: “The current economic outlook for the country is currently extremely volatile for a number of reasons including the short, medium and long-term implications of Brexit, the effects from the war in Ukraine as well as the energy price pressures.”

It adds: “It is now becoming clear that the council’s capital programmes, as currently scoped and budgeted, are unlikely to be deliverable in the medium to long term.”

A Kensington and Chelsea spokeswoman said: “Increasing inflation and costs are a factor for everyone involved in building new homes, and we are constantly reviewing our plans to ensure that we deliver much-needed homes for our residents in the most cost-effective way possible.

“Cancelling projects will always be a last resort, especially for something like our New Homes Delivery Programme, which is one of this council’s highest priorities.

“We remain committed to our New Homes Delivery Programme, which aims to build 600 new homes in the borough, half of which are for social rent, and the first 98 of those homes will be delivered by spring next year.”

Pictured top: Kensington Town Hall (Picture: Hannah Neary)

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