Two of Harrow's flagship housing projects do not meet the borough's own affordable housing targets.

If a Harrow Council grant funding bid fails, affordable housing numbers at Byron Quarter and Poets Corner could be as low as 27 per cent and 15 per cent respectively – far below the authority’s 40 per cent target.

The council is working with developer Wates on redeveloping the former Civic Centre into Poets Corner to provide 1,100 new homes, with 149 homes on the site of an old driving school next to Harrow Leisure Centre into Byron Quarter.

At a cabinet meeting on March 14, resident Charlotte Woodbridge questioned why the council has allowed developers building on its land, or land it has sold, to fall short of this target.

Cllr Marilyn Ashton, who is deputy leader and responsible for planning and regeneration, stressed planning permission has not yet been granted.

Cllr Ashton said: “We’ve got an overarching business case for these plans on our own land. I can assure you that we are applying for grant funding and intend very much to increase the number of affordable homes.”

But the deputy leader said Wates is "not a benevolent society" for the council and "has to make things viable".

Byron Quarter. 149 new homes will be built at the site of a former driving school. Image Credit: Harrow Council. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

Byron Quarter. 149 new homes will be built at the site of a former driving school. Image Credit: Harrow Council. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

She added: “It’s quite expensive for developers to build affordable homes and the danger is if we go too far, we end up not building anything.

"If something isn’t viable then we get zero per cent affordable homes. To get spades in the ground you have to make something viable.

"It’s with the grant funding that we will get a reasonable number of affordable homes.”

Ms Woodbridge argued that, as viability is based on the projected value of the development after building, each time developers are allowed to reduce the affordable housing numbers it perpetuates the sale of land at inflated prices.

She said: “This prevents community-led housing groups or others who intend to comply with the council’s affordable housing targets from successfully bidding for these sites. My two daughters have both moved out within the past three years because they cannot afford to live in London.”

She urged the council to ensure all developments meet the 40% affordable housing target and to refuse permission for schemes that do not.

Cllr Ashton admitted the council has been ‘too lenient’ with developers on some projects over the past decade, under both the Conservatives and Labour.

She suggested some had failed to get enough affordable homes or a decent financial contribution for infrastructure projects, leaving the borough with "lots of tall buildings" but "not many affordable homes at all".

The council has announced plans to start the second phase of the Grange Farm development, the largest social housing estate in Harrow, which is set to be 100 per cent affordable housing. The first stage was completed last year and delivered 89 homes.

All three proposals are still due to come before the council’s planning committee, which is expected to happen over the next 12 months.

Cllr Ashton said: “We should stick up for a higher level and that is something we have been doing lately. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”