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Flagship housing project stalls

Only one of Southwark Council’s Heygate housing schemes has succeeded in winning planning, more than two years after the project began

The project to relocate families from the soon-to-be-flattened Heygate Estate into new housing in London’s Elephant and Castle was initially hailed as a showcase for up-and-coming practices (AJ 07.09.06). Of 15 firms selected – including AOC Architecture, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, S333 Architecture + Urbanism and Panter Hudspith Architects – only Cartwright Pickard Architects’ proposal for Newington South has managed to get through planning to date, although five more will go to committee before Christmas.

Funding problems and confusion over affordable housing has resulted in dRMM’s Harper Road project remaining on the drawing board. dRMM’s Jonas Lencer admitted his practice did not know when it would be submitting an application.

‘It’s all up in the air at the moment. Our initial design for 100 units has not changed much since the competition stage, but to date we still don’t know how much of that is going to be affordable housing,’ he said.

According to Southwark Council’s project director, John Abbott, the collapse of the housing market has been a major factor in the delay. Abbott said the council was now approaching the Homes and Communities Agency for financial backing.

James Cartwright of Cartwright Pickard said he still believed the project was ‘laudable’, but also admitted the process has been ‘far more protracted than we thought it would be’.

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