Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe says he wants to launch “the biggest council house building programme in a generation” after revealing plans to borrow £142m for 750 new homes by 2025.
An initial batch of 75 new homes has been outlined across five different sites. The programme follows a bid to City Hall for funding to deliver council housing, which resulted in a grant of £32m – short of the hoped-for £52m – and the government lifting limits on what councils can borrow against their existing housing stock.
The plan also includes spending £43m from the proceeds of council house sales, and £22m from the council’s housing revenue account.
Cabinet members will rubber-stamp the proposals at a meeting next Wednesday evening.
While some limited council house building took place earlier this decade, there has not been a large council house-building programme in Greenwich borough since the likes of the Woolwich Common Estate were built in the late 1970s.
The five sites planned for council housing are:
- Sam Manners House, Tuskar Street, Greenwich: 10 one-bedroom flats, 13 two-bed flats, seven three-bed flats on the site of the current sheltered accommodation block, which is already planned for closure
- Simba House, Artillery Place, Woolwich: Six one-bed flats, five two-bed flats and 11 three-bed flats. This could be politically difficult for the council, as the building was for many years the headquarters of the Simba Project, an African-Caribbean community group, and its spin-off housing association. 853 understands there has been some disquiet about the use of the site from some Labour councillors because of the building’s history. Its listing as an asset of community value expires in July.
- Well Hall Road, Eltham: 12 one-bedroom flats and two three-bedroom flats on a site by the junction of Westmount Road.
- The Underwood, Mottingham: Seven two-bedroom flats and one five-bedroom house is planned for this site on the Coldharbour Estate, in the southern tip of the borough.
- Southspring, Sidcup: One three-bedroom house. A set of council bungalows was built in nearby Hambledown Road, on the borough border with Bexley, earlier this decade.
Last year, the former site of Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke was mooted as somewhere where 400 homes could be built.
“I’m determined to deliver the biggest council house building programme across Greenwich for a generation,” Thorpe said on social media yesterday evening.
“We’ve responded to the lifting of the housing revenue cap and plan to borrow over £140 million to deliver the social housing our communities so desperately need. A Labour council, delivering for Greenwich.”
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