Luxury flats at Loampit?

Campaigners oppose the new high-rise development in Lewisham Photo: Cat Wiener

Campaigners against a 24 storey redevelopment project at Loampit Vale are considering taking Lewisham Council to judicial review.

Helen Mercer, of Action for Lewisham believes the council and property developer, Barratt Homes, have been overestimating how much affordable housing will be available in the new development.

The council says 30 per cent of the 788 homes will be affordable housing. Action for Lewisham says this figure is misleading because it relates only to rooms and does not make clear the difference between social housing and affordable housing.

Helen Mercer told East London Lines:

“If you take the number of family housing units, then you get down to 17 per cent socially rented housing and 24 per cent affordable housing…Lewisham needs more social housing, but this is a very roundabout way of getting it.”

She argues that the reason the development will be so tall is to accommodate profitable private housing.

The council and Barratt Homes have assured people the new development will be environmentally friendly, with green roofs, grey water recycling and a 47 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. However, campaigner David Fisher believes the project will increase pollution and pressure on amenities in an already densely-populated area. He urged the council to:

“stop, consult residents and build something that actually meets the needs of residents in the area.”

Plans for the development were agreed on by the council in September 2009 by a narrow margin, with planning committee chairman Alan Smith using his casting vote.

It has been reported that another local development scheme,  Lewisham Gateway, may not be financially viable due to the economic situation. However, the government has pumped £20.5 million into the Loampit Vale scheme on condition that some of it is used to create apprenticeships in the area. Lewisham Council has not yet been able to say how many apprenticeships the money will be used for, and when they will be created.

You can hear more from Action for Lewisham by clicking on the link.

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