Camden’s commitment to further boost council housing in the borough
Camden Council’s Cabinet have endorsed plans for a huge expansion in its housing, building more new council houses and buying flats for temporary accommodation for Camden families in need.
In a three-pronged commitment to council housing and its tenants, the council is set to:
- Develop two council-owned sites on Camley Street of approximately 8000m2 to provide a minimum of 350 new homes and vital employment space needed to create new jobs for local people, including maker, industrial and Knowledge Quarter spaces.
- Deliver 801 affordable homes, of which at least 581 will be council homes, replacing poor quality existing homes on two estates with high quality, sustainable and larger homes and building new additional council homes for overcrowded families and people in housing need.
- Buy back homes previously bought up under Right-to-Buy, which have now returned onto the open market, for use as in-borough temporary accommodation to prevent homelessness.
- Hold resident ballots on the West Kentish Town and Wendling estates on plans to rebuild the estates with new, good quality council homes that are fit for purpose.
The plans supplement the Council’s already successful Community Investment Programme, which is building over 1,100 new council homes and 300 Living Rent homes in Camden, along with new schools, community centres and facilities to support older people and people with disabilities. Camden Council has already built 351 council homes and 78 affordable homes since 2011.
“100 years ago, the Housing and Town Planning Act gave funding to councils for the first time to build the homes that ordinary people could afford – and today it’s with pride that Camden are at the forefront of a renaissance in creating new council housing.
“We are putting our families in need and our tenants at the heart of how Camden develops and at the centre of decision making, to ensure that amidst rapid technological, economic and social change, our diverse communities and our Camden 2025 vision remains integral to what we do.
“This means being one of the first councils in London to give tenants a vote on the extent to which we regenerate their estate. It means buying back homes we built but lost under Right-to-Buy for vital in-borough temporary accommodation, to support our most vulnerable families at risk of being made homeless. And it means building on the success of our community investment programme, to build more brand new housing and homes let at a ‘Camden Living Rent’, a reduced rate designed to help provide housing for nurses, teachers, social workers and key public service providers.
“In the case of Camley Street, it’s clear there is underused land and residents want better connections to the surrounding areas. We want to help create an area with social housing for local people, as well as new and improved employment space, including workshops, space for existing businesses and new spaces for creators, makers and Knowledge Quarter uses. We want to create the conditions where local residents have a direct route into these jobs, through apprenticeships, training and placements, and create as sustainable a neighbourhood as possible. We will continue to work closely with local residents and the Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum, who have a broadly similar vision to us for the area to make this development work for everyone.”
Camden Council has allocated an initial £22.1m to buy back former Right-to-Buy properties, which will be funded by 70% from borrowing and 30% from Right-to-Buy receipts.
“Camden is stepping in and challenging a national failed approach to tackling homelessness by buying back the right to buy homes we have been forced to sell off, and using them to house homeless families in need of temporary accommodation. We know how important it is for people to have safe, stable and secure housing, and through our work we already have the lowest level of family homelessness in inner London. By investing in increasing our housing stock we are keeping our communities together - children close to their schools and residents close to their social networks and sources of support.”
Camden Council has worked closely with the residents of West Kentish Town and Wending Estates over the eighteen months on proposals to build more good quality council homes to modern standards that address current overcrowding problems. The council’s favoured option to rebuild both estates will be put to a resident ballot in the summer.
Read the cabinet papers in full on Camden Council’s website.