Southwark Council is building one third of England’s council homes

15 May 2023

With the cost of living crisis exacerbating poverty and homelessness, there has never been a more important time to build more genuinely affordable housing, especially homes for social rent.

Southwark Council is bucking the national trend by building the largest number of new council homes in the country, according to new data released from the Government this month. Of 2,234 council homes started nationally in 2021/22, 726 were in Southwark, more than double the next largest council home builder, Haringey. This means that Southwark has the largest council house building programme in the country.

Despite criticism that local authorities face in how they try to tackle the housing crisis, and the considerable challenges of Brexit, the pandemic, high interest rates and cost of building supplies, the hard work is happening to turn ambition for those in need of homes into bricks and mortar, with no better example than Southwark. Here, since 2014, 3,250 new council homes have been built, or begun – particularly remarkable as a central London authority with limited space, but with 17,200 on its waiting list and in desperate need of housing.

Councillor Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “Having a home is not an optional extra in life, it’s an essential. That’s why we’ve made building genuinely affordable homes our first priority in Southwark, with over three thousand new council homes built or under construction across our borough, more than any other council.

"We’re investing in these new council homes because we know they’ll transform lives for generations to come with their low rents and lifetime tenancies standing in stark contrast to London’s broken and unaffordable private rented sector. It’s been hard work to get here, but we are now building council homes on a scale not seen in our country since the seventies.

"What we need now is a government that shares our ambition. There are over a million people and rising on waiting lists for a council home across our country. We will not solve the housing crisis until we start building council homes at scale again in every bit of the country. Last year a third of all new council homes started in England were in Southwark. Whilst I’m proud of that success, people across our country urgently need the government to back every council to build on this scale, so wherever you live in the country there are homes you can afford.”

One of the sites, near Old Kent Road, has recently completed, with 21 new council homes ready to be let. In line with Southwark Council’s local lettings policy, at least 50 per cent of the new council homes are offered to local council tenants in housing need and already living in the immediate area.

Akinkunmi Raji, who recently moved in to another new scheme, Prout House, said: “I’m really pleased with my new home, we had been on the waiting list for a long time and it’s fantastic to be in such a nice place with my family. Our new flat is spacious, meets our needs, and I feel safe and comfortable in the area. This new home has brought stability, security and happiness for my family.”

Page last updated: 15 May 2023