Lives changed for new council home residents

24 August 2018

Southwark residents have spoken about how their lives have been changed after moving into brand new council homes.

Families and individuals are now moving into six brand new council homes on the Pelican Estate in Peckham, built by Southwark Council as part of its commitment to building 11,000 new council homes by 2043.

The new homes are an extension to Falcon House on the estate and have been built out of a converted former community hall and undercroft pram sheds into three 1-bed and three 3-bed homes arranged over three storeys - with a new community space provided at the bottom of Crane House next door.

Anthony Vassell and Daceya Hibbert have moved into one of the three bedroomed flats with their three girls, aged 13, 3 and 1. Before moving into their new homes the family were on the housing register for five years and sharing a small bedsit.

“I can’t begin to describe the difference,” Daceya said. “We’ve so much space, the children are happy so I’m happy. Sometimes in the old place I didn’t want to even go out I was so unhappy.

“We got the keys on Tuesday and now I have the chance to buy new stuff and feel like I’m setting up a real home for my family.”

Ahmed Merza has also moved into one of the new flats. Mr Merza has been on the housing register for eight years and has been relying on friends to provide him with somewhere to stay while he waited. On Band 3, he said he never thought he’d be able to get his own place.

“I know I am very, very lucky,” he said. “I am speechless really. It is so very, very important to have a home and it has changed my life. It has been such a long time waiting and I am so very happy and glad. My housing officer was so helpful and it was such a big opportunity.”

Cllr Leo Pollak, Cabinet Member for New Homes, said: ““Our commitment to building new council homes is fundamentally about transforming the lives of the thousands of people on our housing waiting list, and keeping our communities together in the midst of a housing crisis.

“Meeting families like Anthony and Daceya’s, knowing that their three children will be raised in a spacious beautiful home with ample storage, rather than in the single bedsit they’d lived in for years is hugely gratifying, and a reminder of why we’re seeking to expand and accelerate our council homes programme.”

All six properties have been allocated. Three of the flats will be taken by families from the Pelican Estate, in keeping with Southwark’s 50 per cent Local Lettings commitments. All the flats are being let at council rent.

The large hall that used to stand on the site was proving expensive to run and was not suitable for people with disabilities to access. It was recommended for consideration by the council’s community engagement team.

If anyone knows of any spaces within the borough that the council might be able to convert into new homes please contact Sonia Hamilton, Development Manager, at sonia.hamilton@southwark.gov.uk

Page last updated: 24 August 2018