Published: 00:01, 17 January 2018
Dartford is the area of the UK most affected by the increasing number of Londoners moving out of the capital, according to the latest figures.
The commuter town became home to 4,260 Londoners in the year to June 2016 – a figure which equates to more than 5% of the borough’s total population – the Guardian has reported.
The news comes as it was revealed 292,000 left the city in the 12-month period, the highest level since 2006, with the exodus attributed to spiralling house prices as well as cash-strapped councils sending homeless families elsewhere.
Last week we reported how, according to the council, London boroughs buying up housing stock was contributing to the increasing level of homelessness in Dartford.
Every year boroughs send more than 2,000 homeless families to areas outside London, and in April, May and June last year, 524 of these placements were made, with more than 200 of those families sent to Kent.
The trend is reportedly causing social tensions in some areas, with locals referring to new arrivals as ‘DFLs’ (down from London), while house prices are increasing.
In Dartford prices rose by £11,641 last year to £340,217, but this figure was still almost 30% lower than the average London price tag of £482,000.
Bristol, Brighton and Birmingham were other areas to welcome large numbers of Londoners and only three areas of the UK did not see any new arrivals.
Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite (Con) said people were drawn to the town due to its good transport links, relatively cheap house prices and the level of development, adding that while services and infrastructure were impacted by migration, it was also having a positive impact on the economy.
He said: “There’s also the ongoing issue of boroughs moving people here and I’ve made no secret of the fact I think that’s immoral. These councils are moving families whose links are elsewhere purely based on cost. People are not a commodity and they should not be treated like baggage. Something needs to be done.”
Cllr Kite admitted Dartford council was powerless to stop private landlords renting to high paying boroughs and said the only way to stop the issue was for central government to step in or for boroughs to give any saving made on rent to the local authority.
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