New council homes delivered through pioneering local community partnership

23 July 2018

Residents are being welcomed into 27 brand new council homes on the Kipling Estate, close to London Bridge.

Marklake Court is a new community-led development of council rent homes that have been delivered using a truly unique, grass roots approach to providing social rent housing - delivered in partnership by the local community and the Southwark Council.

The project came about after the Leathermarket Joint Management Board, a local Tenant Management Organisation, established their own Community Benefit Society (CBS) in 2014 to bring forward genuinely affordable homes for the community and by the community. The CBS then chose sustainable regeneration experts igloo community builders as a Development Manager to inform their approach and guide them through each step of the development.

The CBS was supported by Southwark Council who recognised that the local community was best placed to deliver the most new council homes on this challenging site and took a pioneering approach by enabling the community itself to become the developer. Southwark retained the freehold but transferred the site to the Leathermarket CBS on a long lease, allowing the community to lead the project and manage the completed building.

The site, which used to contain 12 unused garages, was identified by the Kipling Tenants and Residents’ Association (TRA) as being ideal for this development as it was small, within the JMB’s management area, and closely bordering the homes of existing residents.

Bell Phillips Architects was appointed and worked closely with local residents from the outset. At each stage of the design development - which took place over more than a year - the team developed designs with residents, listened and collected comments, then demonstrated how the designs responded to this community feedback. 

It was also important for the CBS to address local housing needs as effectively as possible, through a focus on “right-sizing” homes. This meant that JMB residents living in properties too big for their needs were prioritised, giving them the opportunity to “right-size”, simultaneously freeing up larger properties for other families in need.

John Paul Maytum, resident Chairman of Leathermarket CBS, said: “Involving residents right from a blank sheet of paper at the very start has enabled us to get the very best outcome for this site, while delivering as many homes as possible to meet acute housing need.

“Residents are much happier than with the traditional development approach, because they’ve shaped the design – from the size and layout of the building right down to choosing brick colours and the interiors of flats. Maintaining residents’ trust in this way  allows us to open up sites that the council couldn’t do on its own and really tackle the pressing need for new council-rent homes in this area. We’re delighted that Southwark Council has given the vision, commitment and practical support to make this scheme a shining example of what new council house building can achieve when it embraces a spirit of true partnership with residents.”

Councillor Leo Pollak, Cabinet Member for Social Regeneration, Great Estates and Council Homes, said: “As a council we are keen to do everything we can to alleviate housing need in our borough - with over 11,800 families on our housing list, waiting for relief from overcrowding, extortionate housing costs and health problems linked to their housing situation. 

“This is why as part our long-term drive to build 11,000 new council homes we are keen to support new and innovative models that deliver affordable, secure and enduring high quality homes.  

“Leathermarket CBS has been an ideal partner in this, bringing their intensive community engagement to help unlock and maximise the potential of a challenging site on the Kipling estate, and help establish the possibility of genuinely affordable new housing in the area, within walking distance of the Shard.  

“Every step of the design of this scheme has seen tenants’ involvement and I am delighted that this will continue through to the long-term management of their homes.”

Page last updated: 23 July 2018