What is the council doing to build new homes in Brixton?
The Future Brixton developments could mean an extra 750 new homes in Brixton over the next 10 years, with at least 300 (or 40%) designated affordable housing:
- 304 homes for rent at Somerleyton Road, with at least half of these to be at affordable rents (and over 120 of those at council rent levels).
- 219 quality new homes across the Town Hall ‘triangle’, Olive Morris House and Wynne Road sites that make up the Your New Town Hall project – 47% of these are affordable and all the affordable rented units (55) are at council rent levels
- Potential for 250 new homes identified in the Brixton Central masterplan
The council has committed to build 1,000 new homes at council-rent levels across Lambeth over the next four years. To do this, Lambeth is working on projects across the borough ranging from the small plots of land to regenerating whole estates. Two of the six estates named in the estates regeneration programme are in Brixton wards – Cressingham Gardens and Fenwick
The council’s planning policy requires all developers building 10 or more homes to provide at least 40% of these as affordable housing. This increases to 50% where there is a public subsidy to the development (see Section 5 of Lambeth’s Local Plan).
Why is affordable housing important and what is it?
Affordable housing, according to the government’s own website “includes social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market.” Social rents are most easily thought of as council rent levels, whereas other affordable housing can be up to 80% of market rent or value (if buying a home).
We think Brixton is at its best when its communities are genuinely mixed and diverse.
You can see from the infographic above that:
- 41% of Brixton residents live in social housing, 29% rent privately and 30% own or part own their homes (2011 census)
- 88% of Brixton residents agree that people from different backgrounds get on well and more than three-quarters of Brixton residents would speak highly of their neighbourhood (Lambeth Council’s 2015 residents’ survey)
It is to keep Lambeth at its best that the council will build 1,000 new homes at council-rent levels over the next four years and has committed to support the building of another 1,500 a year from now to 2025.
What about social housing?
Unfortunately, the number of new social homes being built in the borough has fallen dramatically due to Government cuts. In 2010-11, 700 new social homes were built in Lambeth in one year; by 2013-14 this had fallen to 120. At the same time, the Right To Buy scheme and its recent extension to housing associations, will mean the numbers of social homes available will continue to decline.
The Somerleyton Road development is maximising the potential of a largely unused plot of council-owned land. The priority for the scheme is to build as many new homes as possible for rent at a fair price and with a secure tenancy. Half of the 300 new homes will be let at affordable rents, with more than 120 of these at council rent levels. All the homes here will be for rent and managed by a housing cooperative.
The kind of land available at Somerleyton Road is a one off. Unfortunately the council doesn’t have the empty land needed to build the numbers of new homes we’re talking about. Estate regeneration will, inevitably, mean the demolition of some homes in some cases.
As well as building more we will build better homes. This means homes which are warmer, easier to look after which sit in safer communities. While Lambeth has to tackle the housing crisis for future generations, it also has to do its best for its current residents. No one at Lambeth underestimates the potential distress that regenerating an estate could cause for current residents. To reduce this as much as possible, we are committed to keeping uncertainty for residents to a minimum by giving all residents the information and support that they need to make the best choices about their and their families’ futures.