250 new Council homes for Lewisham

Brockley Kate sends us this Lewisham Council release:

The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, has given the go-ahead for the building of 250 new council homes to be built in Lewisham - the first social housing to be built by the Council in the borough for 30 years.

He also made clear his intention that the Council continues to work with developers, housing providers and partners across the sector to maximise the opportunities for investment and new homes, and improve the quality of the current housing stock.

Instructing officers to carry out a detailed analysis of possible in-fill sites for the new housing at this week’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting, Sir Steve also approved recommendations for officers to start looking at a range of options in more depth, at how the Council’s housing stock is managed and run in the future.

Sir Steve said:

“I'm pleased that we have the prospect of being able to build 250 new council homes in the borough. We need to look creatively at how we provide more homes. We already have two fantastic new developments in the Renaissance development at Loampit Vale with L&Q, and the Central Park development with Family Mosaic – developments that offer well-designed, quality new homes both for private buyers and social housing tenants.

"We also need to look to the future and how we can provide adaptable and desirable housing for our older residents; homes that will stand the test of time and be fit-for-purpose in 10, 20, 30 years’ time."

Average house prices in Lewisham have gone up by 250 per cent in the past couple of years, while wages have increased only by 50 per cent. National statistics predict that the population in Lewisham could rise by a further 23,500 people by 2030.

Looking at how the Council’s housing stock is managed, and by whom, was also a recommendation. The Council’s management organisation, Lewisham Homes, was set up in 2007. Since then it has improved and services for residents and updated and improved more than 9,000 Council homes.

Along with the new building programme the Council will be embarking on a conversation with residents over the autumn about their priorities for housing and the options. Called “Housing Matters”, the programme will see officers talking to residents about two broad options that have been identified as possible ways forward in the running of council housing in the borough: one option is that the Council keeps ownership of council homes, either managed, as now, by Lewisham Homes, or directly by the Council. The other is to transfer ownership of council homes, either to an existing social housing provider (such as a housing association) or to a new mutual organisation in which residents and tenants would have a high degree of control and influence.

 It is envisaged that the Council will have a clearer picture at the end of the year from residents on how they would like to see their homes managed and run in the future.