The latest step forward in the ambitious scheme to bring hundreds of new homes and a theatre to central Brixton has been marked with a ground-breaking ceremony at Somerleyton Road.
Local councillor Donatus Anyanwu (left) breaks ground with councillor Matthew Bennett, Lambeth cabinet member for planning, investment and new homes
Homes for Lambeth (HfL) joined with scheme partners, including Lambeth Council and contractors Galliford Try, to put the first spade in the ground at the site on the corner of Coldharbour Lane, in south London.
The plans include over 300 homes (50% of them affordable), a new purpose-built home for the ‘Block Workout’ Street Gym, and the relocation of the renowned Ovalhouse Theatre to Brixton, along with the development of workspaces in the Somerleyton Road area.
In January, Lambeth’s Cabinet gave the green light to plans to build hundreds of new homes at the site. Cabinet members also recommended that HfL - the council’s wholly-owned housebuilder - should build the new homes, in order to maximise the number of genuinely affordable properties.
“This is an exciting time for Homes for Lambeth,” said HfL chairman Richard Reynolds. “In the last few months we have welcomed our first tenants into new homes at Lollard Street and started on the rebuilding of the Westbury estate. We are also expecting start on site on at a number of other sites by the end of the year.
“Somerleyton Road offers another opportunity to work closely with Lambeth Council to provide more of the new homes that this borough desperately needs, as well as bringing new job opportunities for local people into the heart of Brixton. I’m delighted that work on delivering this tremendous project that has reached this crucial stage.”
Following extensive consultation with local residents, the scheme has gathered pace over recent months, after the council appointed Galliford Try to push ahead with the first phase of the regeneration scheme – involving the planned development of the New Ovalhouse Theatre and the refurbishment of the locally listed building Carlton Mansions.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment and New Homes, said:
“This is a proud day for everyone involved in this fantastic project and it clearly demonstrates how close we are to delivering these benefits for the people of Brixton.
“We have spent years working closely with the community, making sure that everything we do is shaped by local residents, is unique to Brixton and provides the best chance of meeting the aspirations of people in the area.
“I am excited that, in the midst of a major housing crisis, Lambeth Council has the ambition and vision to provide genuinely affordable homes for people in the local area and Lambeth as a whole.”
The Somerleyton Road blueprint also reaffirms the original objectives for involving the whole community in the development. It includes a community steering group which will oversee the project and create the Community Stewardship Body which will help to supervise the development in the long term.