London housing bodies and council leaders have reacted with outrage to reports that money allocated by the Government to fund affordable housing in London could be used to bail out the Olympic athletes’ village in 2012.
In June it emerged that the Olympic Delivery Authority’s preferred developer, Australian company Lend Lease, could not raise the £450 million of private funding it said it would provide towards the £1 billion bill for the village.
ODA chairman John Armitt said: “At the end of the day, the Government will have to come in and support the village — that is understood.” Chief executive David Higgins, who headed Lend Lease until 2003, said the money could come from the London Mayor’s £1 billion annual budget for affordable housing.
‘Lend Lease should raise the money it promised or shove off’
But this has angered the London Housing Federation. A spokesman said: “We would not want any funding from the National Affordable Housing Programme to be siphoned off to the Olympic Delivery Authority to make up for a shortfall in private funding.
“The Mayor has committed himself to providing 50,000 affordable homes in the capital over the next three years, and these homes are desperately needed. There are 330,000 families on waiting lists in London and it is essential that we deliver more affordable, particularly rented, family-sized homes.”
Stephen Greenhalgh, Conservative leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council, said he was outraged by the ODA’s plan to bail out Lend Lease.
“This money is vital for schemes across London. We have ambitious plans to build 6,500 affordable homes over the next 10 years and will need every penny of our allocation,” he said.
“We can’t have half of this precious regeneration cash being spent to prop up the Olympics, which have no benefit for us. My message to Lend Lease is: raise the money you promised or shove off.”