Bromley Council is to explore setting up its own company in a bid to curb the borough’s housing problem.

Councillors agreed on Tuesday night to earmark £100k to employ a specialist consultant as it investigates establishing a wholly-owned housing company.

The move follows similar steps taken in nearby Bexley, which has BexleyCo, and Greenwich, which uses Meridian Home Start.

It comes as new stats show severe pressure and a lack of new homes in the borough, driving up already expensive prices.

In the last five years the number in temporary accommodation has risen by more than 90 per cent from 824 in 2014 to 1,556 households in April 2019. 

A report explains: “In recent years immense change has taken place including welfare reform and national housing and homelessness policies which cumulatively are placing a significant upward pressure on temporary accommodation costs. “

Concerns were raised at a meeting on May 7 over the cost of employing a consultant to help the council set up a business case.

“We need to produce a full strategic business case, that if set up correctly it will offer more benefit but if set up incorrectly it carries a very high financial risk,” council officers said.

“We would only draw down if needed but it is a large decision and we would need expert opinion.”

The council has plans for hundreds of new homes – including vital temporary accommodation – to combat huge homelessness costs.


Ready-made modular homes considered as one answer to Bromley's housing problems

Small sites such as Anerley Town Hall’s overflow car park are being eyed up for up to 250 temporary accommodation units.

Overall the council thinks it could build 1,650 new homes over the next two to three years.

“The model is predicated in looking at the existing units we have and what we can produce in roughly the next three years,” councillors were told.

“If we can produce this amount of accommodation, against the nightly pay for temporary accommodation, then that mitigating costs of about £10.5m – that would effectively clear the pressure we have got.”