Kensington and Chelsea Council is to launch a new social housing building programme as it seeks to make ‘major changes’ to its housing policy in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire
The local authority – which has been condemned for its response to the June 2017 tragedy – announced it plans to build 300 new social homes to address the shortage of affordable housing in the area.
According to a recent ‘discussion paper’, the homes will be designed and built by an in-house team and will be constructed on infill sites, meaning existing council tenants will not be moved out of estates.
The house-building programme will be partly funded through the private sale of an additional 300 new homes, as well as a £33.6 million grant from the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Ruling out estate regeneration projects, the council said: ‘The council has already committed to a policy of no regeneration of our estates.
‘The council believes there are sufficient infill opportunities, as well as major privately owned sites in the borough, for several thousand new homes that could be delivered without the need to impact existing estates.’
The council said the new homes would use a ‘co-design’ currently being employed at the upgrading of the Lancaster West estate, which Grenfell Tower was a part of. That scheme is being led by a design team of six architecture practices: Levitt Bernstein and Penoyre & Prasad, with Adjaye Associates, Cullinan Studio, Maccreanor Lavington and Murray John Architects
’Our intention is that this model be adapted and employed wherever possible in the future’, it said.
The council and its management body came under intense criticism after the Grenfell fire, which killed at least 72 people, for repeatedly ignoring safety warnings from the tower’s residents.
It has since been criticised for the amount of time taken to rehouse survivors.
The council’s deputy leader, Kim Taylor-Smith, said: ‘We want to provide new homes in the borough for the many families who need them. We also want to manage our homes better.
‘We cannot change what has happened. But we can build a better borough for our residents. It is our duty to learn and apply the lessons of the past and to give power back to the people in Kensington and Chelsea.’