Plan to move London homeless to Peterborough is 'social cleansing', says MP

Houses being built in Peterborough Houses in Peterborough are about a tenth of the price in Kensington and Chelsea

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Plans to allow a London council to build homes in Peterborough for its tenants have been criticised by an MP as "social cleansing".

Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste has been in talks with Kensington and Chelsea about working together to build houses for people in London and Peterborough.

Mr Cereste said the scheme could benefit people in Peterborough.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said he could see "no advantages for the city".

"This is about social cleansing in Kensington and Chelsea," he said.

"It's about getting rid of people they don't want in their borough, who are on benefits, who they have a responsibility for - to house - who are statutorily homeless."

The Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where the average home costs £1.5m, is looking to Peterborough as houses prices are far cheaper. An average property in the city costs about £150,000.

'Exploratory stage'

Mr Cereste said: "We have been talking to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea about a mutually beneficial housing partnership - but this has not gone beyond the exploratory stage and could result in something or nothing. They are also talking to a number of other authorities.

"The borough council could potentially buy land in Peterborough to build homes for their ambitious young people and young families who cannot afford to rent or buy in the capital.

"We would expect that a proportion of any homes built would be made available to Peterborough residents."

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea said: "In common with all inner London local authorities, Kensington and Chelsea is struggling to cope with a chronic shortage of affordable homes, particularly for ambitious young people in the early stages of their careers and young families who want to get on but find progress impossible because of property prices in the capital.

"We have been talking to a number of authorities - including Peterborough - about the prospects for a mutually beneficial housing arrangement, but none of those discussions have so far gone beyond the exploratory stage."

Mr Jackson said the scheme was a bad use of the city's "scarce housing resources". The council has about 9,500 people on its waiting list.

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