Lewisham Council - Tidemill site development – questions and answers
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Tidemill site development – questions and answers

Planning permission has been granted to build new homes on Frankham Street. The scheme is also known as the Tidemill site development.

The Tidemill site comprises one housing block on Reginald Road and the land where the old Tidemill Primary school was located, including the former playground and car park. The scheme will provide more much-needed new social rented homes. 

What new homes will be built?

​Breakdown of new homes ​
​New social homes 104​
​Re-provided social rented homes (existing homes to be rebuilt) 13​
​Leaseholder properties to be transferred 3​
​Shared ownership ​38
​Properties for private sale 51​
Total homes: ​209
​Total social homes: ​117
New home numbers by percentage​ ​
​Total social homes 56%​
​Private sale 24%​
Total affordable homes (including shared ownership and leasehold transfers​ ​76%
​Total increase of social homes: ​800%

Why does the Council want to redevelop the site?

The masterplan for Deptford was drawn up over 10 years ago and the completion of the new Tidemill School paved the way for us to designate the former school site as land for housing.

What’s proposed?

The new development will involve the conversion of the old Tidemill School buildings and the demolition of 2–30a Reginald Road to deliver new homes, as well as new green space for residents.

Across the site 209 new homes are planned. Of these, 158 (76%) will be affordable.

Our proposals for housing have been through a series of changes as we consulted with the local community over recent years. Feedback from residents is that we should deliver affordable housing that reflects real living wages along with access to quality public open space.

Green space

There is green space in three sections of the site. One is for residents only and two are for public use. The details of the public use spaces are yet to be agreed and we will be consulting with the community on the design.

Affordable homes

The design and layout of the scheme has been finalised with planning approval in place and with a new housing association on board, we’re now able to deliver this scheme with 76% affordable homes.

The new affordable homes will be built and owned by Peabody, and we will have nomination rights for all of the affordable properties.

The Peabody Trust merged with Family Mosaic in July 2017 and owns and manages more than 55,000 homes across London and the South East, housing over 111,000 residents. Peabody works to help people make the most of their lives by providing good quality homes, working with communities and promoting wellbeing.

Could we change the scheme?

We believe the current plans are the best way to deliver the genuinely affordable housing our residents in desperate housing need. We cannot materially change the scheme without submitting a new planning application. The costs for this would be significant depending on the scale of the changes. A new planning process would likely take 18 months to progress. That would mean the 104 additional homes for tenants from our housing register would be delayed by at least 18 months.

Could we pull out of the scheme?

We could, but that would mean we lose:

  •  209 new homes
  • 104 net social rented homes
  • 24 net social homes on the Amersham Vale site (which is linked to this development)
  • around 160 family-sized affordable homes across both Tidemill and Amersham Vale sites
  • sunk costs from Peabody incurred as part of this scheme, which amount to £1 million for the new Charlottenburg Park and approximately £2 million in design and planning costs
  • wider partnership relationships and goodwill, which we need for current and future non-council owned strategic sites.

Could we save the temporary garden on the old Tidemill school site?

Only by not going ahead with the scheme. We can’t materially change the scheme without submitting a new planning application. There are nearly 10,000 people on the housing waiting list, over 2,000 households in temporary accommodation with nearly 600 in nightly paid. The borough desperately needs new affordable homes.

The entire site – including the former school gardens, now restored as the wildlife gardens – has been earmarked for new homes since the masterplan for Deptford was completed over 10 years ago. Since the school closed in 2012, and whilst we have been considering proposals for the design of the new homes, the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden has become an important community feature. However, this garden was only ever set up as a temporary use before the land was developed into housing, yet it has established a strong community demand for quality public gardens.

The proposals offer plenty of open space within the new scheme. Peabody will be talking to the Friends of the Old Tidemill Garden and the wider community about how these spaces can be used.

Are these proper council homes?

All of the new homes for social rent will be built and owned by Peabody. They will be let with secure lifetime tenancies, and we will have nomination rights for 100% of the properties. This means that all of the new homes will provide safe and secure places to live for families in the borough who need housing.

Who will the homes be for?

The entire country is facing a severe housing crisis with not enough affordable homes for those most in need. Across the borough, new affordable homes are very much needed by residents. The additional homes for social rent that the site will provide will be allocated for local people on the housing register. The shared ownership properties will also help to address housing need in the borough and the remaining homes for private sale will be available for anyone wishing to live in the area.

Why is the Council bringing forward private homes?

A mixed tenure scheme is proposed including homes for:

  • social rent
  • shared ownership
  • private sale.

The shared ownership and private sale properties help to fund the homes for social rent, and make the scheme viable to deliver. Over the last two years, we’ve worked with our housing association partner to revisit the tenure and increased the affordable provision to 76%, and we are confident that this means a fantastic mixed community will be delivered in Deptford.

How will the different types of homes be mixed?

The scheme has been designed so that all residents will have new high-quality homes, and will all have equal access to the new public open space that will be created.

The private homes will be converted from the old school buildings, with the new social rent and shared-ownership homes built across the rest of the site.

Will I have to move?

There are 16 properties on site – 2–30a Reginald Road – and residents living there will be able to remain in their existing homes until the new properties are ready. Every single resident living on site today will be guaranteed the right to a new home on the site and compensation for the disruption caused. Tenants will get new properties on the same rent levels, and leaseholders will be able to transfer their equity from their current home into a new one, and remain in home ownership. All residents will also be offered the option of a new home on the Amersham Vale site, as well as Frankham Street, if they prefer.

Will the residents get a ballot to decide if homes should be built on the Frankham Street site?

No, the proposals are well advanced and planning permission has been granted. The principle of building new homes on this site is well established and has been since the school closed in 2012.

What about the loss of trees?

The new development will result in the removal of 36 trees. However these will be replaced with 64 trees, all semi-mature and between 2.5–3m in height. This means that the total number of trees will increase from 49 up to 73.

What happens next?

Revisiting the proportion of affordable homes within the scheme has delayed progress, but we are much closer to having a clear programme in place with our partner Peabody.

With planning permission in place, Peabody will soon start to erect hoardings and clear the site ready for construction to begin. We will hold a series of community engagement events for those who live and work in and around the site and users of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden. These events will explore the design of the open space within the new scheme. Our aim is for everyone to participate in the design of the open and public spaces that will be delivered within the new scheme.

For more information about the proposals, email housing.strategy@lewisham.gov.uk.

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