Merton Liberal Democrats have condemned the Conservative Government’s plans to remove planning controls on speculative developments at the same time as local Tories are campaigning against affordable homes in Wimbledon.
Local Lib Dems believe the Conservative Government's decision to allow landlords of purpose built flats to add two extra storeys without planning permission will have a disastrous effect on parts of Wimbledon, provide a windfall for speculative developers and do nothing to address the shortage of affordable homes across the borough.
Nationally the Lib Dems are calling for “an urgent house building programme”, with proposals to build 100,000 social homes for rent every year. That is why Merton Lib Dems, in the face of Conservative opposition, are supporting the YMCA's proposal to build 110 affordable homes on their Broadway site. The YMCA bowed to Lib Dem pressure to reduce the height of their original proposal from 15 storeys to 9.
Wimbledon's Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson Cllr Paul Kohler said:
"Across Merton, 10,215 families are stuck on the housing waiting list. This is unacceptable.
"I am saddened that Merton Conservatives are cynically campaigning against the YMCA building 110 affordable homes in Wimbledon, in a development of comparable height to their current building. Meanwhile the Tory government has railroaded proposals through Parliament that will allow speculators to make a fast buck adding two extra storeys without the planning permission process that improved the YMCA proposal.
"Wimbledon's skyline will be permanently blighted by these extra storeys but all the local Conservatives want to do is campaign against affordable housing."