A new Lewisham housing scheme is helping young adults with autism live independently, minimising stress and creating a calm environment through design.

The recently completed development on Stanstead Road, Forest Hill, provides four new social homes which prioritise reduction of noise through triple glazing, maximise light and ensure privacy.

New resident Zachary White, who previously lived with family in Brockley, described the scheme as a “once in a life time opportunity” which has boosted his confidence.

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After showing Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan round his new home, he said: “I’ve always liked the idea of living alone and being independent, so this is a great opportunity of getting full control - for example being able to decide when and what I can eat.

"I get to do the shopping, to cook, to decide how everything looks.

“It was a really exciting opportunity because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it - when I was diagnosed at a young age, the doctors said that I’d never able to live on my own, that I wouldn’t get far and would always need care.

"So part of this was proving them wrong as well.

“The place also looks amazing. I wasn’t expecting it to be this big, to be this calm and quiet.

"The location is great, right by the train station, near all the shops and 20 minutes on the bus from my family.

"It really is an ideal situation.”

Designed by architects Levitt Bernstein, the three-storey building sits on a previously disused corner site and features four one-bedroom apartments, a communal lounge and a sheltered garden.

The scheme forms part of our Building for Lewisham programme, which is delivering new social homes across the borough for residents on our housing waiting list.

Working with the Campaign in Lewisham for Autism Spectrum Housing (CLASH) and Birnbeck Housing Association, Lewisham Council helped support the scheme by donating the land and providing £133k of Section 106 funding.

Chair of the Campaign in Lewisham for Autism Spectrum Housing (CLASH), Rita Craft, said: “After a year of such difficulty and bad news, it is simply marvellous to celebrate the very good news of the opening of Stanstead Road flats for autistic young adults.

"Our group - CLASH – Campaign in Lewisham for Autism Spectrum Housing – was formed in 2008, to find housing for our autistic sons and daughters, and today we are able to see the results of our efforts.

"The housing project has been a model example of a collaborative effort, embraced by Lewisham Council, together with Birnbeck Housing Association, the various autism support organisations, and the parents and relatives of our young people.

"The construction of the Stanstead Road flats project has indeed been a genuine partnership, with an excellent outcome.”