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From filthy laundries to fresh, new 'hidden' homes

Published Tuesday, 23 November 2010

This week, Southwark Council's strategy to create homes from disused property on our estates, is taking a leap forward with the completion of two new homes, with more on the way. 

Two of the three four-bedroom homes being created at the Champion Hill estate in Camberwell have been completed and a further four homes, including two wheelchair accessible properties, at the Kingswood estate in Dulwich, are due to be completed by the end of the year.

Councillor Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for housing said, "This is a brilliant, innovative scheme. When space is at a premium and in a difficult economic climate, it's challenging to meet the demand for new homes. This scheme literally creates space for homes from nothing. It's difficult to believe that what were such dingy, unused spaces have been transformed into such bright new flats, which will very soon be let to tenants".

This Hidden Homes strategy identifies old rent offices, laundries, drying rooms, loft spaces and even garages that can be converted into homes, thus increasing the housing stock in the borough.

Money for the scheme is being generated from a targeted selling off of a small amount of the council's current stock, as well as maximising the grant from the GLA's extension and de-conversion programme. The South East London sub-region of five boroughs, including Southwark, has been awarded £2.86m over two years. The priority for this strategy is to create larger family homes and wheelchair accessible properties.

At the Champion Hill Estate, three disused laundries are being used to create three four-bed flats. These are the first Hidden Homes created from non-residential property in the borough. On Thursday 25 November, cabinet member for housing Ian Wingfield will visit the estate and meet local residents, who will be able to take a guided tour of the new homes.

At the Kingswood Estate, two disused laundries and one disused rent office are being used to create three four-bed flats and one three-bed flat.

Further information

There will be further property conversions undertaken and residents on each earmarked estate will be fully consulted before any work is signed off. This strategy of selective sales is expected to generate income over several years for the council, which will then be used to search out and develop Hidden Homes, as well as refurbish current stock as part of the council's Decent Homes programme.

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