A London borough has been awarded nearly £8m after the council built more homes than any other in the country last year.

The opposition has said “the devil is in the detail” after raising concerns about whether they are the right types of housing to meet the borough’s needs. 

Brent Council is set to receive the largest New Homes Bonus – a grant paid to local councils by central government to incentivise increasing the supply of housing.

The £7.9m is £5m more than it received last year, with the vast majority of other local councils getting less from the government scheme.

Cabinet member for regeneration and planning, Cllr Shama Tatler, said: “We are doing everything we can to deliver safe, secure homes that provide a solid foundation for local residents to build on.

“Brent will always play its part in trying to address the housing crisis. We are investing in much-needed new council homes and helping more local families into affordable, secure homes. We are determined to keep providing more homes for local families as we strive to build a better Brent.” 

However, the leader of Brent Liberal Democrats, Councillor Anton Georgiou, wants more information about the types of homes that are being built.

He said: “The headline figure from the council press release sounds wonderful. However, we need greater clarity on the type of housing being provided across Brent and whether these units are truly affordable and meeting the needs of local people.

“What the council needs to provide is a breakdown by ward of the type of tenures or build that the figures they have given represent.”

Between March 2022 and April 2023, Brent Council has said 840 new homes will have been built in the borough. There are a further 139 homes still to be finished over the next six weeks, which will add to the 701 that have already been built.

By the end of March, 73 homes are set to be completed at Stonebridge Hillside and Milton Avenue, as well as four homes at Frontenac on Donnington Road and 61 independent living units for vulnerable people on Honeypot Lane.

They make up part of the council’s pledge to deliver 5,000 affordable homes in the borough by 2028, 1,700 of which would be directly delivered by the council.

A further 104 homes, where work has already begun, are expected to be finished by the end of the next financial year (April 2024).

These include 12 homes at Preston Community Library by June 2023, 26 homes at Learie Constantine Centre by December 2023, and 29 homes at Brent Indian Community Centre by January 2024.

Cabinet member for housing, homelessness and renters security, Cllr Promise Knight, said: “We believe that every Brent resident should live in a safe and secure home that meets a quality standard of living. That’s why we have promised to deliver on our target of 1,700 homes in Brent by 2028.

“A total of 1,245 of these homes will be brand new developments, while the remaining 639 will be properties that we procure. We are committed to creating a fairer and more equal borough.”

The 2023-27 borough plan, which sets out the council’s priorities and ambitions for the next four years, includes a pledge to continue to build affordable homes, as well as 1,000 council houses.

It was approved by the cabinet on February 6 and is subject to ratification at this week’s full council meeting (February 23).

According to the plan, the council will: “create more accessible and genuinely affordable housing” and “be the leaders in London for inclusive housing development”.

It claims this will be achieved by buying houses, building new social and affordable homes, and making improvements to the existing stock.

Cllr Georgiou said: “It would also be interesting to understand how many of these units are new build, or conversions. For example, would the transformation of a 3-bedroom house in Kingsbury to an HMO of 5 units count in the statistics as an increase of four? The devil is in the detail.”

The council claims it is committed to prioritising the development of larger family homes, with 61 per cent of those already built having two or more bedrooms.

Of the 701 council homes completed to date, 159 are one-bedroom, 189 are two-bedroom, 91 are three-bedroom, and 14 are four-bedroom.

A council spokesperson said: “The housing crisis is affecting families nationally, and Brent is not immune to this. It is important for Brent residents to be aware of their housing options.

“We recognise there is higher demand for social housing due to its genuine affordability and security; however, social housing is just one of many options available, along with private housing and home ownership.”