Affordable housing crisis
PLACE/Ladywell, Lewisham, London
CategoryChild health and wellbeing
Proof of concept
Addressing a critical housing shortage
There is a critical affordable housing shortage in Lewisham, where the number of homeless families is continually on the rise.
This award was given for the development of a vacant former leisure centre site to provide affordable housing for 24 homeless families. The scheme was designed to be re-deployable and included workspace to activate the site for four years, before being re-located to another site in the borough.
Making a difference
How/why did the project benefit the public?
Lewisham, like many London boroughs, has a long housing waiting list with the number of homeless families on the rise. Temporary accommodation is often of unsuitable quality and does not provide stable or secure futures.
This innovative project provided accommodation that was 10% larger than London Plan standards, with taller floor to ceiling heights, larger private leisure space, and homes that are thermally and acoustically efficient.
They also provided families with a secure address, a catchment area for schools and a base to repair their lives within their established community.
The ground floor workspaces offered a co-working space, a café, an indoor market, and community spaces that were all let to local businesses and charities. These spaces provided local employment and training opportunities, boosting the local economy.
What were local planners hoping to achieve on the project?
- To promote sustainable development
- To reduce social inequality
- To provide genuinely affordable social housing
Getting planners involved at the start
How were local planners essential to the project's success?
The success of this scheme hugely benefited from having a planner from the very first inception meeting to its completion. This project was not a traditional build and strong leadership was required to manage the number of policy challenges that arose during the development. As a result of planners negotiating many details upfront, a minimum number of conditions were imposed on the planning permission meaning that development could begin quickly.