The first units of Lewisham Council’s innovative PLACE/Ladywell temporary housing development were installed on Thursday on the site of the old Ladywell Leisure Centre. The “pop-up village” will provide 24 homes for local people in need of housing and eight ground floor units for community and business use.
The development is planned to be completed and be ready for tenants to move in by March 2016. The pop-up village will stay in place in Ladywell for four years, whilst permanent plans for the site are developed.
The development will provide much needed housing in Lewisham. Under the Tories, house building nationally has been at the lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s. As a result, house prices and rents have soared. The average rent on a one bedroom flat in Lewisham is now £1,100 a month – over half the average take home pay for a full time worker in Lewisham. With house prices rising rapidly, it is becoming increasingly impossible for people to afford to buy in the area. And with the Government’s savage welfare cuts, more and more people are in need of urgent housing support.
Lewisham Labour is doing what it can to address the housing crisis. We will build 500 council homes by 2018 and deliver 2,000 affordable homes. We could do more still if we had a Labour Mayor of London supporting us. Sadiq Khan has promised to make housing his top priority.
As well as providing much-needed housing, the pop-up village will also provide a space for Lewisham’s vibrant small business community to work and grow. It will host one of the borough’s three enterprise hub, that provide high quality spaces for local entrepreneurs and businesses to rent as well as a café and a community space.
The units are built off-site using state of the art construction methods, making them quicker and cheaper than traditional methods. Once the permanent development for the site is ready, the units can be dis-assembled and re-used somewhere else; meaning fewer empty bits of land around the borough waiting for building development to begin.
As he watched the installation of the first unit, Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first units going in. Providing quality housing quickly for those in need is crucial and necessary and this scheme will do that. It also has the potential to done in scale in other parts of London in response to the ever-growing housing need. I’m really proud that we have taken this ground-breaking step and I’d like to thank everyone involved in helping us to pioneer this approach.”
Councillor Damien Egan, Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “It’s really exciting to see this project taking shape and we’re proud Lewisham is leading the way in finding innovative approaches to help fight the homelessness crisis in London. But the work continues, we still have 600 families living in bed and breakfasts and we’ll be doing everything we can to try and improve conditions for these vulnerable residents.”
Councillor Stella Jeffrey for Lewisham Central ward said: "This is such an important development to help families with secure local temporary homes .Residents with children will have a stable quality of life that is the aim for all our residents living in the borough."