City housing project now bearing fruit

Corporation not burying its heads in face of crisis
Grand unveiling: Mark Boleat was joined by chairman of the community and children’s services committee for the Corporation, Dhruv Patel, who helped deliver the development, at last week’s handover ceremony

The latest homes in a Corporation-driven project to provide 3,700 new dwellings by 2025 have opened to tenants – but City chiefs concede more must be done to address the Capital’s housing crisis.

Keys to a new social housing development – comprising 18 flats and a community centre, including a multi-use community hall for residents – were handed over at Avondale Square in Southwark last week. The Corporation provides housing for Londoners across seven of the Capital’s boroughs, and says it has a duty to address a growing problem that is driving many out of the city.

“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to tackle the housing crisis, and as our role in supporting London goes way beyond that of other local authorities, we feel this responsibility especially keenly,” said the Corporation’s chairman of policy Mark Boleat.

“Affordable housing supports the diversity of London’s communities and is an integral part of the Capital’s success as a global city. “London needs to be an affordable and enjoyable place in which to live and work if it is to remain globally competitive.”

Avondale Square is the largest housing estate owned by the Corporation. The land has belonged to the authority since 1251, and was originally called Twelve Acres. The estate comprises 640 homes, including sheltered housing units in Harman Close.

A dozen of the new units will be leased to the Corporation while six have been made available to Southwark residents. Mr Boleat believes the correct steps are being implemented to address demand. He added: “The opening of the new Avondale development is an example of our commitment to providing more quality social housing to Londoners, and we will continue to work to meet our target of building another 3,700 homes across London by 2025.”

In total, the Corporation manages some 2,000 social households and 1,000 local authority leaseholds – as well as 2,000 private tenants in the Barbican Estate. Speaking after the handover ceremony, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing at Southwark Council, Stephanie Cryan, said: “This development from the City of London is welcomed as it complements our own stock of new homes at genuinely affordable rents.”