Plans to transfer two plots of land on Greenwich Council estates to community groups for housing schemes are due to be approved by senior councillors later today.
Community land trusts (CLTs) will be able to bid for two garage sites in Kidbrooke and Abbey Wood on the understanding that they then develop the maximum amount of “affordable” housing possible on the land.
The trusts are non-profit organisations that can manage housing, open spaces, shops and other facilities on behalf of communities. The two Greenwich schemes are intended to complement plans for new council housing, new homes from housing associations and projects from the council’s spin-off company Meridian Home Start.
While CLTs can offer homes for social rent, they can also sell homes at sharply-discounted rates. The first London CLT scheme, on the former St Clement’s Hospital site in Mile End, offered both homes for rent and flats that started at £130,000 – a figure based on the £30,000 average wage in the borough of Tower Hamlets.
The idea is that the homes remain genuinely affordable, forever, and are developed in consultation with the community – avoiding the conflicts with neighbours seen in both private and council schemes. Other schemes have included shared ownership properties, while they can include private sales to make the schemes viable. Work on a CLT scheme providing 11 flats in Sydenham is due to begin this year.
The biggest site to be made available is at Felixstowe Road in Abbey Wood, where 34 mostly-disused garages could be handed over to a CLT, which will then consult with local residents on what housing could be built there.
A second site, at Susan Road in Kidbrooke, consists of two plots of land – one, which currently holds 16 garages, could be developed for housing. The other, an awkwardly-shaped plot with four disused garages, could be used to provide parking for the new residents.
The two sites, at opposite ends of the borough, have been chosen to maximise the number of people who can get involved, according to council officers. The council will advertise for bidders in March and pick trusts by November.
Greenwich Council’s cabinet, its main decision-making body, will discuss the plan at its meeting at 5pm today, which can be seen on YouTube.
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