England

Canterbury barracks to house 200 Redbridge families

Howe Barracks Image copyright Google
Image caption The barracks were closed in 2014 when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders departed

A London council is to move more than 200 families in temporary accommodation into a former barracks in Canterbury.

Redbridge Borough Council said the move was triggered by the "chronic shortage" of affordable housing in London.

Canterbury City Council said it tried to secure the homes for its own housing register, but lost out to a council with larger "financial resources".

It has also said the move will create a "financial strain" on local schools and social care.

The barracks were home to families of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which were based at Howe Barracks for 10 years, before moving out in 2014.

They were the last representatives of the regular Army in the city, which has had a base in Canterbury since 1794.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen toured the barracks ahead of the closure

Leader of Canterbury City Council, Simon Cook, said the council did its "utmost" to get the properties as they would have "made a difference to so many local families".

"We have explored the effective legal avenues open to us to prevent this from happening, but sadly there are none at present," he said.

"We will monitor this to ensure Redbridge follow due process and will take action if they fail to do so."

He added the council were seeking "urgent clarification" from Redbridge on the level of support needed

A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said the authority aims to find accommodation in the borough for families where possible.

"The chronic shortage of affordable housing is a London-wide issue and due to the pressure in the housing market it has become increasingly difficult for us to secure enough local supply," she said.

"The cost of renting and buying properties is pushing people to outer London boroughs including Redbridge and beyond."

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