Lewisham Council defend house building record

Lewisham Council offices. Pic: Steve Cadman

Lewisham council have defended their house building record amidst criticism from local residents that they are not building enough affordable housing.

City Hall’s London Development Database showed that only five affordable rent units were built in the area in the 12 months up to May last year.

This was a significant decrease from 2016/17 when 98 affordable rent houses and 110 social rent homes were built.

Lewisham Council had promised to build 1,000 social homes by 2022-23.

The Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, said: “We’ve taken representatives of the planning team out to Islington. They have had particular success in getting high numbers of affordable housing so we want to learn some of those lessons and do the same in Lewisham.”

A Lewisham Council spokeswoman said at a council meeting last week: “Building affordable housing in Lewisham is a top priority of ours.

“The low affordable housing figures in Lewisham last year were due to large regeneration schemes where the number of net completions does not entirely reflect the actual delivery of new affordable homes on site.”

Lewisham’s population is projected to increase to approximately 318,000 by 2021 from 297,000 people in 2016, making it one of the fastest growing boroughs in London.

Councillor Paul Bell said in the same council meeting: “The council is committed to delivering 1,000 social homes of varying sizes and types; these will not all be flats.

New Cross Housing. Pic: Stephen Craven

“The process of site selection and due diligence has resulted in a number of development opportunities to be progressed to help meet this objective.

“The figures are for new build developments only. It does not include ‘vacant homes brought back into use’ through targeted enforcement action.”

Lewisham resident, Sheppard Anderson, said at the meeting: “What you’re saying doesn’t actually address the fact that the latest projects have less social housing since the election of the Mayor than the 50% which was promised in the manifesto.”

The lack of affordable housing and the increase of council tax by 4.99% have become major issues which Lewisham Council have had to constantly address over the past few weeks as they face severe budget cuts from the national government.



Leave a Reply