This post was first published by My London on 17/04/2019.
What we know so far about Croydon’s plan for affordable homes built and managed by local people
The community certainly has plenty of questions.
It would be a revolutionary idea for Croydon .
Affordable housing built by local people and for local people.
Once built, the homes would be owned and managed by the community groups that developed them.
The ‘community-led housing’ is a new concept for Croydon, and one that’s prompted a string of questions from residents about issues ranging from locations to children’s play areas.
At a meeting of Croydon Council’s tenant and leaseholder panel, members heard all about the plans…
So, how will it work?
The council is inviting local bidders to develop the homes on council-owned sites.
Bidders who make a successful business case would get help from the council-owned developer.
The pilot “would help residents and community groups shape the future of their local area and give them a chance to offer different housing options”.
What’s the timeframe?
It was first announced back in January.
The bidding process for the first pilot in Upper Norwood will open at the end of May, a month later than originally expected.
A site visit open to interested parties will take place on May 8 and successful applicants will get help from council-owned developer Brick by Brick .
In the pilot of the scheme there will be two sites – a second is in the south of the borough.
Do we know much about locations?
Assurances have been made that houses won’t t be built on a play area in the Shrublands Estate in Shirley.
Panel member Sharon Swaby, chair of the Shrublands Residents Association, said there had been rumours about where a potential development could be on the estate in Shirley.
“I know Shrublands is one of the sites you’re looking at and I want to know to what extent residents are going to be involved,” she said.
“As far as I’m aware, you’ve identified a site without consulting the residents.”
She added that she thought this was the playground on the Shirley estate.
Regeneration manager at Croydon Council, Zohra Chiheb, said: “We haven’t spoken openly about the Shrublands site yet.
“But in terms of the consultation it is really very important that the neighbours feel that they are involved.”
In terms of the location of any potential development, Ms Chehib added: “The red line does not go around the multi-use games area, it is actually adjacent to the ball court.
“We currently would not be proposing development on the ball court.”
A parcel of land called The Lawns in Upper Norwood is the first location that the council has officially named as a site for community-led development.
Kirsteen Roe, director of council homes, districts and regeneration, at the council, said there will be a full process of consultation with the community.
She added: “With The Lawns, there has been a whole process with the community – we are a bit further ahead there.
“We are just about to start that process with Shrublands. The community-led aspect is about the nature of the project.”
Who will live in these new homes?
That remains to be answered.
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes, was also at the meeting and added that community-led housing would not suit every community.
“We know there is a housing crisis in Croydon, we know that we need all sorts of housing for all sorts of people but community-led housing is just one piece of the jigsaw,” she said.
“Some people are very excited about it but it is certainly not going to be for everybody.
“We are not saying that Brick by Brick would build these homes, it would work with people for their initial submission so they can find out whether it would be viable.
“It would be for the community group to decide who ultimately builds the homes.”