A number of community groups across London are campaigning for a CLT in their community. Beyond our original focus of St Clements and the Olympic Park, Lewisham is furthest ahead.
In Lewisham, the campaign for genuinely and permanently affordable homes was led by Lewisham Citizens, part of registered charity Citizens UK. Lewisham Citizens held an assembly with 400 people prior to the local elections in 2014 and persuaded the Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, to work with local people to deliver CLT homes in the borough.
Steve Bullock committed to delivering a CLT in the borough, and after extensive community site walks and a local membership drive, London CLT and Lewisham Citizens obtained a statement of intent, outlining in writing that ‘The Council is committed to working with London CLT and Lewisham Citizens to deliver a CLT in Lewisham’ and that ‘specific potential sites are being discussed.’
On 23 March 2016, all their hard work paid off. Having considered an officer report, and a presentation by the Cabinet Member for Housing, the Mayor agreed that the garage site on the Brasted Close estate, Sydenham, should be declared surplus to the Council’s requirements and that officers would work with the London CLT and Lewisham Citizens for a period of twelve months to develop a fully affordable housing scheme for the site. To see the full minutes of the decision go to item 391.
The planning application for Brasted Close was submitted on 17th May 2018 and we are now awaiting the verdict.
Nano McCaughan of South London Citizens shares her story of the campaign:
“Four Years ago, in May 2014 Lewisham Citizens made the first approach to the Mayor of the Borough, Sir Steve Bullock at an Assembly of 400 Lewisham Citizens, to request the Council to provide us with some land on which to build some CLT homes. He responded positively if cautiously to that request, which it fell to me to make, and after many explanatory meetings first with Mayor and Councillors, and later with Council officials, we were granted a garage site in Sydenham, part of a council housing estate. We made overtures to the residents and neighbours, and gradually built up a steering committee to help us with the plans, they chose an architects team, who also were very community orientated, and in May 2018 our plan went to the Council. We await the result with hopefulness, and are delighted with the beautiful, thoughtful plan our team have finalised and shown to the residents.”