Fuller Long worked alongside Waugh Thistleton Architects and Lewisham Homes to attain planning permission for the redevelopment a vacant  care home at Kenton Court in Lewisham, to provide 25 new affordable dwellings. The three storey property was previously utilised as an extra care facility, providing accommodation for people over the age of 65, which no longer met the appropriate standards. The approved scheme, which provides 100% social rented homes, is part of the local authority’s and Lewisham Homes’ borough-wide New Homes, Better Places programme, which aims to see the development of 500 new homes designated for people who are in need of social rented accommodation within the borough.

The new dwellings comfortably exceed the required space standards and provide good quality private and communal amenity space for the new residents with balconies, gardens and a shared landscaped courtyard space. The approval of this scheme enables the positive redevelopment of this previously developed brownfield site, replacing the former, substandard extra-care facility – for which more suitable and better quality accommodation is now available elsewhere in the borough – with 25 new high quality residential units.

The proposed development is vital in addressing the mounting pressure on the Council’s housing waiting list, providing a high quality residential development that will make an important contribution toward meeting the Council’s housing targets, with affordable housing in short supply across the borough and London as a whole.

Fuller Long provided advice and guidance during pre-application stages, assisting our client and larger design team in resolving initial concerns that the Council raised with the proposed development. Some changes were made to the original design, including the design and location of the new entrances, siting of the proposed building and height of the scheme to ensure the full potential of this site was achieved, balancing the need to maximise the accommodation, with the established character and patterns of development nearby whilst protecting neighbouring amenity.

A full energy strategy was proposed as part of the scheme, which informed the design, ensuring that sustainable principles that would be adopted as part of the scheme.

The development at Kenton court is particularly prevalent in the current climate, as it is reflective of the current demand for affordable housing in the UK. The lack of affordable housing in London has sparked various debates over the current state of the property market and solutions to mitigate rising house prices for Londoners. Government statistics show that the amount of affordable new build homes in England has reduced from 66,700 in 2014-2015 to just 32,630 in 2015-2016. This puts many Londoners under pressure as the average house price in London is now valued at £481,556.

The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has also criticised the lack of affordable housing and has made promises to crack down on housing policy as well as the sale of housing to foreign buyers. Khan has also struck a £1.7 billion deal with the local housing associations in order to start plans on building 50,000 new affordable homes. He has also announced plans to implement new conditions in order to suspend the marketing of new homes to foreign buyers for at least six months in order to allow locals a chance at securing a new home. Further research and consideration will be required before any plans are released, to ensure the aims have the desired effect and won’t negatively impact the housing market. Nevertheless, NHBC says the number of homes built by the private sector grew year-on-year during 2017 by 3% to 118,825. Also, the number of affordable homes increased 14% to 31,781, the highest ever figure.

The Guardian newspaper present an alternative view that “It’s speculation in the property market that is fuelling stratospheric house price rises, not shortage of supply.” The Guardian goes on to suggest that affordable housing is not just an issue of housing supply and is more likely a result of continuous investment into the property market which in turn has created a bubble that has increased house prices exponentially, particularly in larger cities in the south of the country. Some contend that Increasing housing supply will not solve but only exacerbate issues surrounding the lack of affordable housing in the UK.

The debate goes on into 2018.

Should you work for a house builder or local authority housing association, Fuller Long are here to work with you to deliver your housing scheme. Call 0808 164 1288 or email hello@fullerlong.com  to speak with one of our Consultants today.