Lewisham Council is sitting on more than £16.3 million of affordable housing funding.

Latest figures from the council show only £4.4 million of the £20.7 million designated for affordable housing has been spent.

This is money the council received from Section 106 Agreements – a planning law which allows councils to get money from developers in exchange for granting planning permission for projects.

This leaves more than £10.3 million of allocated but unspent money, and £6 million of unallocated, unspent affordable housing cash.

The money must be spent on specific projects, like affordable housing, and cannot go towards the council’s general budget.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We are in the process of spending this money on new affordable housing in Lewisham.

“We’re not adding anything further.”

The figures come during a shortage of accommodation for families in the borough.

The number of affordable rental homes in Lewisham have nearly halved since 2010, more than doubling the number of homeless families in temporary accommodation in Lewisham.

An average of 241 families will bid for a three-bedroom home per week through Homesearch, the council’s online site for allocating social housing.

There are 4,000 households waiting for two-bed accommodation in the borough, 1,000 of which were homeless and in temporary accommodation.

Research undertaken by HuffPost UK also places Lewisham Council as having the seventh highest amount of unspent Section 106 money in England and Wales, revealing local authorities across the country are hoarding hundreds of millions of pounds designated for affordable homes.

Neighbouring Southwark Council had the highest amount of unspent Section 106 money in the country with £52.6 million of unspent money, although this was all committed to projects.

Lewisham Council’s cabinet member for housing and Labour mayoral candidate Damien Egan said:"No money that can be used for genuinely affordable housing will go unspent. We are using s106 money to help provide the affordable homes that we desperately need in Lewisham in the face of London’s housing crisis. It is a tragedy for those on housing waiting lists that the Tory and Lib Dem Government in 2010 cut the subsidy for affordable housing in new developments, which would have provided far more financial support.

"We have so far approved 500 new social homes since 2014 and we will be spending unallocated s106 money to help us provide many of the 1,000 new social homes that Lewisham Labour had pledged for the next four years. This is a long-term programme that runs alongside finding sites, designing and building new homes."