Southwark vows to build 10,000 new council homes

By Jim Dunton - Wed 17 July 2013, 11:17 am

Southwark Council will build 10,000 new council homes over the next three decades, its leader has pledged.

Councillor Peter John made the promise in response to the findings of a report by the borough’s Independent Housing Commission, chaired by Jan Luba.

John said the move would come in addition to the borough’s work with private developers - such as Lend Lease - to bring different categories of housing to Southwark.

"I am incredibly proud to announce that Southwark Council will build 10,000 new council homes in the borough over the next 30 years,“ he said.

“I can't overstate the significance of this decision, at a time when the trend is for council housing to be sold off more often than it is built, despite huge demand for affordable homes.

“We announced last year that we plan to build 1,000 new council homes in the next few years, and we are well on our way to delivering that plan.

“But frankly, even that large number of homes will barely scratch the surface of our 20,000-long housing waiting list, and we don't want to sit around waiting for an inevitable crisis to happen - we need to act now.

"We're a relatively small borough in terms of geography but we punch above our weight - people want to live and work here, and with our regeneration of areas like Elephant & Castle, and Peckham, not to mention the London Bridge quarter, demand for homes in the borough will only increase.

“As a council we are passionately committed to helping the most vulnerable in society, and that is why we need council housing above all else.”

John said his personal vision for the borough’s new homes was that it would be impossible to tell whether an estate was in private or council ownership because the quality of new council homes would rival or exceed those produced by the private sector.

The authority’s cabinet agreed to “look creatively” at a range of different options for financing and managing the delivery of the new homes.