Greenwich Council’s bid to build its way out of the housing crisis was boosted last night as councillors signed off on borrowing millions for new homes.

The authority agreed to borrow £142m to build hundreds of council homes in what would be the biggest building programme in a generation.

The cash will be on top of the £32m already being handed out by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and money already earmarked for housing –  bringing the council’s kitty for new builds up to £240m.

There are 984 homeless households in temporary accommodation in Greenwich, the highest number for 10 years.

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Chris Kirby, said at a cabinet meeting on February 21: “We haven’t been in the business of building this many council houses in my lifetime. This is a radical change in what we are looking to deliver.

“We have not been set up to do that – to pull this together in such a short amount of time is testament to us wanting to deliver the homes we need and to the hard work of officers.”

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Council leader Danny Thorpe said this showed the council was serious about dealing with the housing crisis. He added: “To borrow this amount of money shows we are putting our money where our mouth is.”

The current London Plan sets a housing target for Greenwich of

2,685 new homes a year – the third highest target in London – with an updated version expected to up that to 3,204.

The council has plans for nearly 770 new council homes, all starting to be built by 2022.

According to new council documents, five sites have already been earmarked for the first round of building.

Well Hall Road, The Under Wood, Simba House in Artillery Place, Southsprings and Sam Manners House have all been touted for new council homes.

Greenwich Council upset neighbours last year when it first decided to close the sheltered housing unit at Sam Manners House.

There are currently 17,000 people waiting for a home in the borough and council officers say Sam Manners House is becoming harder to let and would be too costly to adapt.

The council has also dropped plans to sell two estate sites to private developer Pocket Living, instead opting to investigate building council houses at the Orchard Estate and Kidbrooke Park Close.