No affordable homes were built in Bexley last year despite a “housing crisis” gripping the capital.

The council came under scrutiny last night after new figures showed zero affordable houses being built in 2017/18, down from 180 in the 12 months before.

Housing chiefs at Bexley Council said that while the figure was disappointing, it was part of an overall trend.

Labour councillor Joe Ferreira said: “Zero affordable houses were built in the borough in 2017/18. All members are aware of the crisis nationally and here in Bexley.

“We’ve seen this in the pressures in the budget on temporary accommodation, so my question is why?”

Other boroughs are not up-to-date with their figures, so comparative data is not available, but traditionally Bexley has been above the London average.

Since 2012 there have been 834 affordable housing built – split between shared ownership and social or affordable rent.

MORE - Bexley adult care services to see big investment after budget pressures

Jane Richardson, the council’s assistant chief executive for growth, said: “These are annual figures but the trends for housing need to be taken over time. The previous year we exceeded our target significantly, and we expect that again next year.

“, it is a cycle – look at that rather than a single year or a moment a time.

“When a property is finally constructed, that planning approval would have been given two or three years before. The previous year we were third or fourth in London for affordable housing.

“I would like to assure you we take this a seriously as anybody, that need for quality homes.”

News Shopper:

The council has been going through a period of “estate renewals” which has impacted its figures.

“The stock involved in those programmes, the former Larner Road and now Arthur Street, the quality of that accommodation was extremely poor. It did not meet decent standards and It is not stock we should be proud to discharge to residents,” Mrs Richardson said.

“It is a poor number, it’s not a number we would like to see but look at the trend before this year and the permissions that have been given and next year we can expect a better number, and figures showing affordable housing now under construction paints a much better picture.”

On all developments that have more than 10 homes, Bexley Council has a policy of requiring 35 per cent of affordable housing.

Cllr Louie French, the cabinet member for growth, said the council was focussed on good quality and family housing, not just building “to tick a box”.

“Elsewhere in the report you can see we have built 834, that gives us an average of 41 per cent – putting us above the average for London,” Cllr French said.

“If you look at our numbers and long-term trends we have consistently delivered more houses than what the current London plan wants us to deliver.”

Cllr Ferriera said residents are suffering as a result of the housing crisis.

MORE - Bexleyheath Academy slammed by Ofsted with worst inspection rating

He said: “I hear the comments about the 41 per cent, but if there wasn’t zero affordable housing built in 2017/18 then that number would be higher and we would be here praising you.

“But actually in that year, for what I accept are a variety of reasons and there are trends and issues at stake, zero affordable houses were built.

“There is a housing crisis going on, and residents are suffering as a result.”