Lambeth Council has been accused of being “cosy with contractors” it hires to carry out works on homes, prompting anger from its leader. 

The council has approved an investment of more than £140 million in Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS) over the next three years, nearly £51 million of which will be invested in 2019/20.  

LHS is the “standard for how modern, warm, dry and safe Lambeth homes should be”. 

Since 2012 the council has been carrying out a programme of internal and external works on Lambeth homes, estates and streets. 

But at a cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday, November 18) Green Councillor Pete Elliott said the investment figure was “ridiculous” when “residents don’t have showers designed to shower”.  

He said: “£50 million investment in Lambeth Housing Standard alone is ridiculous considering Lambeth Housing Standard seems to mean that the residents don’t have showers designed to shower, as an example. 

“We fully advocate investment in and refurbishment of the existing housing stock but this should mean retrofitting homes to higher energy efficient standards at levels that are actually liveable for Lambeth residents. 

“Both of these areas seem to have been ignored in the requirements for Lambeth Housing Standard, which has already showered well over £500 million on what appears to be a cosy relationship with contractors. 

“We also need to see far more investment in bringing empty properties back into use and to stop wasting huge amounts of money on the estate demolition scheme, which so far has nothing to show for itself except for the breakup of communities and increased stress and anxiety among residents.” 

Council leader Jack Hopkins said Cllr Elliott’s comments were a “travesty”.  

He said: “You just accused of us of being cosy with a load of contractors when we know that there are hundreds and thousands of residents who are now living in decent homes because we’ve invested that money and to throw that out there […] probably breaks the code of conduct so we’ll be having words after.” 

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Paul Gadsby said the claims did not “conform with the reality”.  

He said: “We’ve upgraded 23,000 homes in the last five years – I can send you if you want case studies of residents who have had their lives changed by the improvement works that we have done. 

“They are all on the website, seven or eight of them at least and I can give you another 30/40/50 if you want minimum that we have actually done to improve people’s lives.

"And the Housing Standard, by the way, what we focussed on was decided by residents. 

“When we started the programme in 2010/11 we did a big consulation and bathrooms and kitchens was the key priority for residents which is why we focussed on them. 

“But we have done loads of other things – we’ve refitted windows, hundreds of new boilers, we’ve done electrical rewiring on estates - a massive investment programme, the first of its kind in three decades, which I’m incredibly proud of.  

“If you’ve got individual issues by all means raise them but frankly don’t make statements along those lines which do not conform to the reality of residents.”