Southwark Council has approved the purchase of 280 extra social homes on the Aylesbury Estate in a deal with developer Notting Hill Genesis.  

In 2014, the council signed a £1.5 billion deal with the housing association to carry out an 18-year regeneration of the estate in Walworth.

In the new deal, all 581 on the first development site will now be social housing.   

The council will pay the £193 million expected cost of the new homes, which would have been either privately sold or rented at intermediate rates.   

The deal covers sites known as ‘package A’ and ‘package B’ – the homes already under construction within package A and those to be built in package B, will be delivered by NHG, “on behalf of the council, as council homes”.  

Development on package A started in March 2019 and will deliver 229 new homes in 2021. 

Work on package B is set to start later this year, and will deliver a further 352 new homes by 2024. 

News Shopper:

Charlotte Benstead, chief executive of Creation Trust, spoke on behalf of Jean Bartlett, chair of the Aylesbury TRA, at a cabinet meeting during which the plans were approved on Tuesday (July 14). 

She said: “We are delighted that council homes are now an option. 

“There are lots of existing residents who will be relieved that they can stay on the footprint where their support networks are and near the local facilities they’re used to. 

“We also know that though they often moan about the council, the sense of security of being a tenant of the local authority […] cannot be underestimated.” 

She thanked everyone involved but asked for assurances about the quality of the new homes so residents would not continue to be “plagued” with “damp, leaks, pests, heating outages”.  

“Please put everything you can in place to ensure the quality of the build is good enough so that when Aylesbury residents do move, the issues that have plagued them for years on the [estate] are a thing of the past,” she said.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the cruelty of the housing crisis and the suffering of our communities in Southwark

Councillor Kieron Williams, cabinet member for housing management and modernisation, said the council would come back in the autumn with a “clear framework for residents on the estate to have priority for these homes as they become available”.  

“It would be a really good thing to find a way to work with residents to look at the quality of the homes as they are being built,” he said.  

Cllr Leo Pollak, cabinet member for social regeneration, new homes, and great estates, said a report was due “very shortly” on the quality inspection regime in place on the first development site.  

The report on the new deal stated: “The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the cruelty of the housing crisis and the suffering of our communities in Southwark.  

“There are over 600 households in shared accommodation and nearly 3,000 households in temporary accommodation in the borough. 

“Pressure on the council’s homelessness services is relentless and in April alone we have ensured 221 people have been able to move inside from living on the streets.  

“There is general agreement that we cannot return to business as usual when this pandemic is over.”