FACT SHEET

Achilles Street Stop and Listen Campaign

Updated FACT SHEET July 2017- Full Version (FACTS 1-7) click here: Factsheet July 2017

Extracts Below.

Fact 4 – Lewisham Council has failed in its duties as a landlord and managed the decline of the Achilles Street area

Lewisham has failed in its responsibilities as a landlord to maintain and upkeep the buildings (homes and businesses) in the Achilles Street area. When buildings become run down because a landlord has neglected them it is called managed decline’; and this is what Lewisham has done to the Achilles Street area. The Council is now using its own failings as a landlord as an excuse to demolish the decent and structurally sound homes and businesses in the area.

Fact 5 – Lewisham’s plans for the Achilles Street area have been designed by private property developers

Lewisham’s plans for the Achilles Street area are based on a report by Savills (a private

property developer), which was submitted to the government in 2016. In the report Savills argue that local authorities should go into partnership with the private sector (meaning property developers like themselves) to ‘redevelop’ housing estates in prime locations across London.

Savills idea of ‘redevelopment’ (most people call it social cleansing and gentrification) is to demolish so-called ‘sink’ estates and in their place build high rise, high density ‘urban villages’.

The designs that Lewisham have presented at the four token ‘consultations’ are identical to case studies in the report by Savills. So why Lewisham (a Labour council?) wants to destroy a long standing community and participate in a ‘redevelopment’ project that is first and foremost designed to boost the profits of private property developers, is only a question that they can answer.

Fact 6 – Redeveloping the Achilles Street area will not address the shortage of council housing in Lewisham

To redevelop the area Lewisham will have to go into partnership with a private property developer. This means the vast majority of the new homes (currently estimated to be between 350 and 450) will be private, for sale and rent at market rates. Private property developers always use ‘viability assessments’ to reduce the percentage of social/‘affordable’ housing in any new development; and this has consistently happened in projects across London. The Lewisham Gateway project, for example, had a target of 20 percent ‘affordable’ housing and through viability assessments property developers managed to get away with building no ‘affordable’ housing at all. This was in spite of the fact that the property developers for Lewisham Gateway were given the land for nothing by the Council and on top of this they received £22 million of public funding (£20 million from the Homes & Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority and £2 million from Lewisham Council). So by going into partnership with a private property developer to redevelop the Achilles Street area Lewisham could ultimately end up reducing the number of council homes in the borough.

Notes and Sources from the Achilles Street Stop and Listen Fact Sheet : Factsheet Notes & Sources July 2017

Here is Lewisham Councils response to our fact sheet -which doesn’t address any of the key facts 2017.07.26 Lewisham Council Response

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Achilles Walk

As part of Open Garden Estates weekend we are inviting visitors to walk through the Achilles Street Area in the heart of New Cross, sharing and listening to the narratives and history of the area, identifying trees and wildlife, and seeing the green spaces, homes and shops that are under threat of demolition. The walk will end at New Cross Learning for a discussion and refreshments.

Date: Saturday 17 June, 2017

Meet: At the entrance to Fordham park, on the corner of Achilles Street and Clifton Rise

https://goo.gl/maps/THxeizT8xVG2

Time: 2 pm

Walk: Approx 1 hour. The walk will end at New Cross Learning for refreshments and discussion.

All Very Welcome

 

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FOUR CONsultations

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It’s  now 9 months since Lewisham Council revealed it’s proposals to demolish the Achilles Street Area. In this time at the four ‘consultations’ held to date Lewisham Council have not listened to residents . They have not presented any options for refurbishment.

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

Achilles Street Stop And Listen Campaign

At a ‘consultation’ on the 21st May 2016- Lewisham Council revealed its plans to redevelop the Achilles Street area. The Council is proposing to demolish all of the homes and local businesses in the Achilles Street area in order to build high rise, high density housing in partnership with private developers.

The Achilles Street area – is a low density housing estate, which runs along either side of Achilles Street between Clifton Rise and Pagnell Street. It also includes the flats and businesses on the east side of Clifton Rise and the flats, maisonettes and businesses along the New Cross Road between Clifton Rise and Pagnell Street (excluding the Venue and the old bank building).