Design work on a 300-flat development on public land in New Cross has begun, with consultations taking place next month and May.

The Besson Street scheme is a joint venture between Lewisham Council and Grainger Plc which will manage the homes.

The scheme will only see 35 per cent of the flats let at London Living Rent – a type of affordable housing which is more expensive than social housing.

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Lewisham Council has a target of 50 per cent affordable housing on all developments.

The homes are expected to house those who struggle to sustain themselves in the private rental sector but who don’t meet social housing criteria.

The development will also include a new GP surgery to replace the current Queen’s Road surgery, health centre, community space for the New Cross Gate Trust and an outdoor gym.

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Lewisham Council will get 50 per cent of the rental income from the flats, while the community services will be run by the New Gross Gate Trust – with rents expected to fund the trust’s community services.

This includes employment support, IT skills training and English for Speakers of Other Languages provision, healthy cooking sessions and mental health support.

The first public consultation took place last month with design work now started, according to the New Cross Gate Trust website.

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Further consultation events are expected next month and in May before a new planning application is submitted this summer.

All decisions in the partnership will go through the council’s decision-making bodies including Mayor and cabinet meetings, with the partnership set up so the council can never lose control over the site.

Lewisham Council hopes the scheme will “have a stabilising effect” on the local private rented sector and provide “better services at mid-market rent levels.”