A Chance for New Council Homes in Brixton

The council is planning to allow 280 new homes on Somerleyton Road, between the Barrier Block (Southwyck House)/Moorlands estate and the railway line in Brixton. It looks like most of the housing will be at ridiculous prices that most local people can’t afford. But the final decision won’t be made until the start of next year. Now is the time to let the council know that we want the site to be used for council homes, not pricey flats for rich people.

What’s this all about?

As part of Lambeth council’s Future Brixton plan, there are plans for a major redevelopment of Somerleyton Road involving a new theatre and shops as well as housing. The existing industrial buildings on this land, three-quarters of which is owned by the council, will be demolished.

Doesn’t the council say there will be affordable housing on Somerleyton Road?

The council says that 60 per cent of the new homes will be private and only 40 per cent will be “affordable”. “Affordable” housing can include shared ownership schemes and homes let at 80 per cent of market rent (around £1,100 per month for a two-bedroom flat in this part of the borough) – far from affordable for most local people.

Why should it be council housing?

Lambeth has 27,000 people on its waiting list for social housing, and council housing is the most democratic and affordable way of using the site to provide some. We don’t want a repeat of the Brixton Square fiasco when Barratts promised to build social housing as part of the development and then half way through said they couldn’t afford it!

Can councils still build council housing?

Recent changes to the law mean that it’s easier for councils to take the initiative to build council housing – and others, like Islington and Southwark, are already doing this. The main cost of providing new housing in London is land – which in this case the council already owns. And it’s cheaper for councils to borrow money to pay for the initial building works than it is for housing associations or developers, since companies can easily go bust, whereas local authorities can’t.