Croydon Council accused the Home Office of forcing homeless families out of temporary accommodation, after it was outbid for an "important" property.

A few weeks ago, the Home Office outbid the Council for a ten year lease to use Stonebridge Lodge, which currently houses up to 80 homeless families, as accommodation for asylum seekers.

The Council will need to move the existing residents out of the Thornton Heath building and find them alternative housing having lost a significant chunk of its temporary accommodation.

Speaking to Inside Housing, Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and gateway services, said: "The Home Office has breezed into Stonebridge Lodge waving its cash, gazumped our housing team and given local families in need weeks to get out.

"This thoughtless Home Office decision disrupts the families who face having to leave Stonebridge Lodge and the many more for whom we will find it harder to source financially viable and suitable alternative accommodation in the future."

The Home Office outbid a recent pan-London agreement between local councils that limits the prices paid for nighly B&Vs, especially through block bookings.

Chief Executive of Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, wrote a letter of complaint asking the secretary of state, Priti Patel, to reconsider her decision and explain the Home Office's silence on the issue.

In the letter she said: "We are already struggling to place households locally, so for the Home Office to then procure this accommodation with no discussions with us, both undermines local authorities’ attempts to control costs and depletes our supply of local accommodation.

"Most importantly, the impact of losing accommodation within our borough disrupts the families who face having to leave Stonebridge Lodge and the many more for whom we will find it harder to source financially-viable and suitable local alternative accommodation in future.

"Given this impact on us, we are disappointed the Home Office did not contact us to discuss its procurement plans in Croydon.

"We are asking you to reconsider your decision and consider the detrimental impact of any future similar agreements on local people, the housing market and the financial constraints local authorities are under.”

According to recent figures, there are 1,743 households in temporary accommodation in Croydon, including 1,257 families with children.

Demand is growing in the borough, with 50% more applications being placed this year than the previous.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.