Hounslow Council announce plan to turn empty garages into affordable housing after criticism over hundreds of sites left unused

Image above: Empty garages in London; library image

Six sites targeted by report into Hounslow’s housing need

Hounslow Council has approved the transfer of ownership of several garage sites across the borough from Council ownership to a housing association, to make way for affordable housing, after being criticised as one of several boroughs in London  “hoarding” empty garage sites.

According to Government figures published in December 2023, LB Hounslow has 1,382 empty “surplus assets” out of 2,020. These include empty garages, which critics have accused local councils across the UK of holding for unnecessarily long periods of time, exacerbating the national housing crisis.

At a meeting of Hounslow’s Cabinet on Tuesday (16 January), members approved recommendations from a report aimed at addressing the borough’s housing need.

The report outlined changes to the Registered Provider Small Sites Transfer Programme, aiming to deliver 200 units of affordable rented homes across 62 sites. The focus of this report was on six sites, contributing to a total of 37 affordable homes.

The Cabinet approved the transfer of ownership for four existing Council garage sites to Habinteg Housing Association.

In Chiswick, Cabinet members agreed to transfer ownership of the garage block adjacent 25-36 Beaconsfield Close to Habinteg Housing Association for the development of affordable rented homes.

According to the report, residents are expected to benefit from the proposals through the addition of affordable homes, reducing the need for temporary accommodation, and providing a greater choice of housing types and tenures. The construction phases of the developments will also create jobs locally, the report claims.

Pending planning permission, the new housing units are expected to be built between 2024-2028.

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