BASILDON Council boss Gavin Callaghan has vowed to end so called “rabbit hutch” housing being used in the town for displaced Londoners.

The council’s labour leader met with mayor of Newham Council, Rokhsana Fiaz, in a bid to stop the placement of homeless and vulnerable people in Basildon homes.

Southend Standard:

Meet - Gavin Callaghan met with mayor of Newham Council, Rokhsana Fiaz

He said rogue landlords are cashing in, and are offering those in need unsuitable homes for living in.

The two leaders have agreed for Basildon Council to have more notification and communication over the placement of London families in the town’s homes.

Following the meeting, Mr Callaghan said: “There is a toxic combination of factors that is causing real problems in Basildon.

“Too many conversions under permitted development rights – out of control of our planning officers – are resulting in cramped and poor quality flats.

“These rabbit hutches are utterly unsuitable for people on Basildon’s housing waiting list, yet unscrupulous landlords, keen to turn over a quick profit, are marketing these properties to desperate London boroughs who can pay them the higher Local Housing Allowance.

“The result is vulnerable individuals and families are arriving in our borough in large numbers, housed miles away from the support and family networks they desperately need, often against their wishes, in accommodation unsuitable for their needs and in locations that put them at further risk.

“This has to stop and I am pleased that the mayor of Newham and I have agreed on this.

“I understand the pressures London boroughs are under, but we need to find a better way of managing these issues.

“First, we have agreed to develop a protocol that goes beyond the statutory requirement to notify us when a homeless family is placed in our borough.

“Under this protocol Newham Council will notify Basildon Council when any individual or family is placed by them into our borough.

“Second, we have arranged to meet with the company, commissioned by Newham Council to find their out of borough placements, so that we can discuss improvements to the process.”

In July, Mr Callaghan announced £100million plans to buy up town centre buildings to stop developers buying up office blocks and turning them into poor quality homes.