Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, reports on the reaction to the latest shambles and scandal to emerge from the council’s failing house-building company
Croydon Conservatives have today called for the Labour-run council to close down its loss-making in-house house-builder, Brick by Brick and “start building proper council houses again”.
“Brick By Brick is a disaster for the tax-payer and a disaster for the young families who urgently need the affordable properties it is not building,” Tim Pollard, the leader of the opposition Tory group at the Town Hall said, following the startling discovery that after five years, no one at Brick by Brick had bothered to register the company as an approved provider of shared ownership homes, as exclusively reported by Inside Croydon at the weekend.
Brick by Brick was formed in 2015, and has since been loaned at least £260million of public money while being sold land and property from the council at below market value. Six sites were sold for just £1 each.
Brick by Brick has so far completed three one-bed flats for social rent.
To meet its targets for supplying “affordable” homes, Brick by Brick intended to sell dozens of properties under shared ownership schemes. But last month they discovered that banks and lenders won’t provide mortgages on their properties because the company is is not a registered provider, forcing them to halt all its shared ownership sales.
It could take up to 12 months before that issue is resolved.
Croydon Council has so far failed to comment on the latest multi-million-pound balls-up by Brick by Brick, the company that oversaw a £11million overspend on the unfinished and incomplete Fairfield Halls refurbishment.
But Chris Philp, the Conservative MP for Croydon South, said of Brick by Brick’s shared ownership shambles, “This is another shocking piece of bungling by the council, and is such a basic failure it really underlines how the council is not competent to be engaging in commercial development.
“With ineptitude in this scale, it is likely that Brick by Brick will end up losing the taxpayer vast sums of money – adding insult to injury as the Council not only concretes over the borough but loses our own tax-payer money doing it.
“This latest shocker has Paul Scott’s fingerprints all over it.” Scott is the Labour council’s cabinet member for over-development, and the de facto chair of the planning committee, which has granted planning permission to every application submitted by Brick by Brick.
And Philp’s Tory Party colleague, Sanderstead councillor Pollard, said, “You really couldn’t make it up, could you?
“Here we have a council which over six years has built affordable rented properties at the staggering rate of one flat every two years, which now has shared ownership flats it can’t sell.
“Instead of building genuinely affordable council houses, it churns out premium-priced flats for sale which no first-time buyer could even dream of affording.
“Brick By Brick is a disaster for the taxpayer and a disaster for the young families who urgently need the affordable properties it is not building. It’s time to face facts: councils like ours should not be doing this sort of property speculation, because they’re terrible at it.
“It’s time to close down Brick By Brick and start building proper council houses again.”
- Shared ownership is an unaffordable joke
- A level of ineptitude which would be tolerated no where else
- Butler: We’ll let Brick by Brick build on all under-utilised spaces
- Croydon’s Brick by Brick model is well and truly broken
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