Redbridge Citizens presenting the Clements Road brief to the local Council, July 2018.
Loxford Lane & Clements Road, Redbridge
Status: Planning received
Size: 31 homes (1, 2 and 3-bedrooms) across 2 sites
As part of a larger Council-led project, we are working to create 31 affordable CLT homes across two sites in Ilford, in the Borough of Redbridge. The Loxford Lane site will have 21 CLT homes, including 17 family houses and 5 flats, within a larger 159-home development featuring a central shared garden. 10 CLT homes will be at the new block of flats on Clements Road.
This project has come about after years of campaigning by Redbridge Citizens, working with local people and the Council to put CLTs on the agenda to increase support for and access to genuinely affordable housing that is led by the community. The leader of Redbridge Council has made a commitment to creating 250 CLT homes in the Borough, so this is just the start!
Find more information about the designs for this project in our latest Annual Report.
These CLT homes will be housed within a larger London Borough of Redbridge project, and with challenges in terms of financing and partnership with the Council, progress is coming more slowly than expected. While the timeline is uncertain, we are still confident that the project is moving forward and are excited to move into the next stage - construction! The local community's involvement is still as important as ever, so if you would like to get involved here, please get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshops with local community members.
In 2014, Redbridge Citizens ran a listening campaign to discover the main issues troubling the local community. We found that housing was the number one concern. In the run up to the local elections that year, we approached all the candidates for Council Leader about the possibility of setting up a Community Land Trust in Redbridge. All three agreed.
Our campaign began with relationship building and education. In February 2015, we met with the Cabinet Member for Housing and senior housing officers and introduced her to the concept of CLTs. A few days later, we held a housing action with over 100 people and the Deputy Council Leader committed to building affordable CLT homes in Redbridge with us.
A small group of us also attended the Neighbourhoods and Communities Service Committee meeting, where the Cabinet Member for Housing agreed to work with us. Eight Redbridge Citizens leaders presented to the Council’s Fairness Commission in August getting a warm response to the CLT proposal.
In September we held another meeting with the Leader of the Council and explained how CLT homes would benefit local people. We needed a clear commitment, so in November 2015, Redbridge Citizens held an action at the full council meeting, with 70 people standing up, in silence, holding placards calling for two CLTs. A round of applause was received from all members of the council who were impressed with how we had conducted the campaign and the action. The Leader said, “You know where my heart is on this” and agreed to visit St Clements CLT with us. The year culminated with Redbridge Citizens attending the launch of the Redbridge Fairness Commission’s Report which recommended that two large-scale sites be identified for CLT development.
Over the course of 2015, Redbridge Citizens had signed up over 300 people as £1 shareholders of London CLT, so in February 2016, a year on from our first housing action, we held a Housing Assembly to celebrate this by eating cake with Council Leader Jas Athwal and secured a personal pledge from him for 250 CLT homes.
It was in 2017 when things started coming together. In March, at the TELCO (East London Citizens) 20th Anniversary Assembly, Council Leader Athwal made a public commitment, before other London Council Leaders, to 250 CLT homes in Redbridge. Four potential sites were identified, including Clements Road, which comprises 2 office blocks to be converted to flats.
In July the Council owned development company, then called DEVCO, now known as Redbridge Living, was ratified at the Cabinet Meeting by stating that it would seek the provision of affordable housing and stated that it was “committed to enabling a wider choice of generally affordable housing and is working with the London CLT to enable delivery of CLT homes.”
In January 2018, the schedule for the first site, Clements Road, was drawn up, and homes were initially scheduled to be completed in September 2020. Working with Architects San Frontieres, we produced a design brief for Clements Road, setting out our vision for the site.
Since then, further sites in Loxford Lane and Seven Kings have had proposals submitted for planning including CLT homes.
This campaign has demonstrated the importance of listening to our community to understand the issues that really mattered to them. We learnt the importance of collaboration across different faiths and backgrounds and of being patient, brave and persistent. This has been a long journey over the past few years, but because we were confident and had a clear vision of what we are working for and why, we managed to keep momentum going. Most of all, we learnt that, as we are working with people for people, building relationships in the long term is what is needed to make real change.
"What was initially important to us on the project was creating more truly affordable homes for local people and their families so they don’t have to move out of the borough. As the design process evolved, one of the key elements we really focused on was pepper potting CLT homes throughout sites. It was also really important to make sure all homes in development had the same fixtures, fittings and finishes – the CLT homes as well as those for sale and rent on the open market.
"The design process was challenging. We had to fight to work with the council on a proper partnership basis, and the Covid pandemic was a serious complication. All contact stopped as council staff were transferred to pandemic-related work. Redbridge Living (the housing company we were working with) was dissolved and the work was taken back by the council – fortunately the same staff are responsible so we haven’t had to build up new relationships. Community organisers are pivotal in community-led processes like these, so future CLT campaigns and projects must find ways to prioritise and fund community organisers’ work where funding is scarce. Thankfully, things are still moving forward."
- Jennifer Bowen and Stephen Barrett, Redbridge Community Steering Group
Carols for affordable housing outside Redbridge Town Hall, December 2019.