To: London Borough of Lewisham

Lewisham Council: Develop Besson Street for local housing needs

Lewisham Council: Develop Besson Street for local housing needs

As the housing crisis gets ever worse, public land should be used to provide housing for those who need it most. This petition therefore demands that the council's Besson Street site in New Cross Gate be developed as a non-profit scheme aimed at those on low incomes, so that it can provide housing for those who need it in New Cross.

Why is this important?

The Borough of Lewisham plans to develop a private rented sector (PRS) scheme on its site at Besson Street, which has been in public hands for decades. While a council-run PRS scheme does avoid the loss of social housing to Right-to-Buy, Lewisham have unfortunately decided to set 65% of starting rents at market level in this scheme, partnering with a private company that will profit from this. While Lewisham say profits will also fund council services, it will not address the housing needs of local people. In the midst of a housing crisis Lewisham should be using public land to help house local people afflicted by the crisis.

While the Besson Street site is technically in Telegraph Hill Ward, it is more obviously part of the other areas north of Queens Road, which according to the GLA ward atlas are in the lowest median income bracket in London. This means that market rents in new-build housing will be well out of the reach of nearly everyone who lives locally.

The result will be housing provided for higher income people from outside of the area. This will help drive a process of gentrification that will make the area more expensive for everyone. Given the diversity of the area, and the economic gap that - for historical reasons - exists between white and minority ethnic groups, this means the scheme will disproportionately disadvantage the ethnic minority residents who live locally.

Lewisham even present this scheme, on a site which used to contain council housing, as one to help address the housing crisis. Whose housing crisis are they trying to solve? Those who lack new-build flats at market prices? There are plenty of such schemes being built all around Lewisham. The real housing crisis - among those on low incomes - is being ignored by this scheme. This is not what residents should expect of their local authority. We call upon Lewisham to use the Besson Street site to provide housing for those in most need.

New Cross Gate, New Cross Road, London

Category


Reasons for signing

  • I live near Lewisham and see many new flats for sale. Social housing is needed for all the public service workers who keep Lewisham safe and healthy.
  • This is an example of asset stripping pure and simple. The site did, till about ten years ago, contain council housing. Once upon a time Lewisham Labour conducted elections with the slogan "Vote Labour against Tory cuts" ! What a hollow promise that was ! Whatever happened to councils providing homes at appropriate standards. some such developments won architectural awards and still stand as reminders of what genuine municipal enterprise should look like.( Read Owen Hatherley).
  • I was in need for housing help so I want to support those who may need it as well.

Updates

2016-05-17 21:04:13 +0100

There will be a meeting about this campaign on Tuesday 24th May, at 7.30pm at The Field, 385 Queens Road, New Cross. Come along! https://www.facebook.com/events/274728426207183/

2016-05-02 14:50:14 +0100

100 signatures reached

2016-04-24 08:13:48 +0100

50 signatures reached

2016-04-23 14:04:24 +0100

25 signatures reached

2016-04-22 12:23:49 +0100

10 signatures reached