A plan by Croydon council to relocate homeless families to northern towns has been cast into doubt after it became clear that two of the local authorities said to be under consideration have not yet been approached about the scheme.
Dudley Mead, Croydon Conservative councillor for housing, finance and asset management, argued that housing is cheaper and more available in some northern seaside towns.
He told the Croydon Advertiser: “A lot of seaside towns are certainly cheaper and have more availability. These moves would be by mutual agreement. Sometimes families are keen to move so everyone’s happy.”
A spokesperson for Hull City Council told EastLondonLines they had heard of Croydon Council’s plans, but said: “We are not involved in [Croydon’s] project. We don’t have surplus housing.”
“We have our own waiting lists… there are strict rules about how you go about allocating housing.”
Although the average weekly rent for a family in a two-bedroom house could be reduced from £184.11 in Croydon to £92.05 in Hull, the council refuted claims that housing is plentiful in the area.
Grimsby has also been suggested as a possible site for relocation. North East Lincolnshire Council, speaking on behalf of the area, told EastLondonLines that they are completely unaware of Croydon’s plans.
A spokesperson for the council said: “We have not been approached so far.”
Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central, said the scheme is “far from ideal”, but that the council currently has no clear alternatives.
A total of 1,600 Croydon families are thought to be homeless, with 300 of these currently living in bed and breakfast accommodation. If the proposed scheme goes ahead these families will be moved north, with a potential monthly saving of £300,000 for Croydon Council.
Kay Boycott from homeless charity Shelter said that there has been a “recent dramatic rise in homelessness”.
“The fact that councils are offering people homes hundreds of miles away – uprooting families from schools, communities and jobs – is testament to the scale of London’s housing crisis.”
Croydon Council press office did not respond to requests for comment.