FACT SHEET 1

Lewisham Council is proposing to redevelop the Achilles Street area; and in doing so plans to demolish every home, business and community organisation in the area. Achilles Street is being considered for redevelopment as part of the Council’s ‘New Homes, Better Places’ programme, which has the target of building 500 new council homes for rent by 2018.

Lewisham claims that the redevelopment will address the shortage of council housing in the borough but these are the facts: 

 

  • Fact 1 – Redeveloping the Achilles Street area is going to reduce the number of council homes available for rent in Lewisham

Lewisham Council is planning a joint venture with a private property developer, where two-thirds of the new homes will be private (for sale and rent at market rates) and one-third of the new homes will be ‘affordable’ housing. This means that 370 new homes will have to be built just to maintain council housing in the area at its current level (See also Fact – 2 and Fact 4 below).

 

  • Fact 2 – ‘Affordable’ housing isn’t council housing

‘Affordable’ housing is defined as social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing (e.g. shared ownership). Lewisham has made no guarantees that the new ‘affordable’ housing being planned will be council housing.

 

  • Fact 3 – ‘Affordable’ housing isn’t affordable

Lewisham Council defines ‘affordable’ housing as follows: rent is linked to the London Living Wage and it assumes that two earners occupy each flat, each paying 35 per cent of their net income on rent. This would require a household income of £37,140.80 per annum; and the rent would be £879.32 per month.

 

  • Fact 4 – Lewisham Council wants to demolish decent council homes, when there is a chronic shortage of council housing in the borough

The 87 council homes in the Achilles Street area meet the Council’s ‘Decent Homes’ standard.

 

  • Fact 5 – Lewisham won’t consider the option of refurbishment

The reason given by Lewisham as to why it won’t refurbish the buildings and landscape the area is because the homes in the Achilles Street area meet the Council’s ‘Decent Homes’ standard. So why are they being demolished?

 

  • Fact 6 – Lewisham Council doesn’t care about residents, local businesses and community organisations

In recent years Lewisham Council has been happy to sell off our land – land, which belongs to the people of Lewisham – to property developers. These developers have made big profits by building thousands of homes; and selling them at prices the vast majority of Lewisham residents can’t afford. Yet when it comes to its target of building 500 new council homes, so far, Lewisham have only managed to build 6 homes.

 

The Council’s plan to destroy homes, livelihoods and the local community in the Achilles Street area will do nothing to address the shortage of council housing in Lewisham.

 

 

Notes and Sources

 

Fact 1 – Redeveloping the Achilles Street area is going to reduce the number of council homes available for rent in Lewisham

There are currently 87 council homes in the Achilles Street area. Lewisham is planning a joint venture with a private property developer, where two-thirds of the new homes will be private (for sale and rent at market rates) and one-third of the new homes will be ‘affordable’ housing. This means that 261 new homes will have to be built just to maintain social housing in the area at its current level. Private property developers use ‘viability assessments’ to reduce the percentage of ‘affordable’ homes in any new developments. In London between 2013-16 the percentage of ‘affordable’ homes in new developments fell from 31.3% to 23.5%. At 23.5%, 370 new homes will have to be built just to maintain council housing in the area at its current level.

 

Fact 2 – ‘Affordable’ housing isn’t council housing

 

Fact 3 – ‘Affordable’ housing isn’t affordable.

Lewisham Council defines ‘affordable’ housing in the following way: rent is linked to the London Living Wage and it assumes that two earners occupy each flat, each paying 35 per cent of their net income on rent. This would mean a gross household income of £37,140.80 per annum; net income would be £30,148. If 35% went on rent, this would be £10,551.80 per annum or £879.32 per month.

 

Fact 4 – Lewisham Council wants to demolish decent council homes

  • Letter to Residents dated 4 July 2016

 

Fact 5 – Lewisham won’t consider the option of refurbishment

  • Letter to Residents dated 4 July 2016

 

Fact 6 – Lewisham Council doesn’t care about residents, local businesses and community organisations

In recent years Lewisham Council has sold our land – land, which belongs to the people of Lewisham – to property developers. This has happened across the borough, in New Cross, Deptford, Loampit Vale, Lewisham Gateway and Catford to name but a few places. Two current examples of this in the north of the borough are Millwall and Tidemill Garden in Deptford.

http://www.millwallfc.co.uk/news/article/millwall-regeneration-john-berylson-lewisham-council-2951073.aspx

https://www.change.org/p/lewisham-council-defend-our-den-stop-millwall-land-sale-to-property-developers

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/sep/25/millwall-goal-ultimate-home-win-lewisham-council-the-den-renewal-property-developer?CMP=share_btn_fb

  • Tidemill Garden – Deptford

http://deptfordaction.org.uk/

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-old-tidemill-wildlife-garden

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