Are there any hidden homes in Putney?

Wandsworth today launched the first three "hidden homes" today. They believe that up to 10,000 new homes could be created across London if the capital's local authorities rose to the Wandsworth 'hidden homes challenge'.

The council has pioneered techniques to convert previously disused estate premises into good quality affordable housing. The council has already identified 200 potential hidden homes on 22 estates in all parts of the borough.

Most of the properties are on the ground floor or in basement areas of their blocks. They include former boiler rooms, laundries and store sheds. All are currently uninhabitable.

Funding for the conversion costs is coming from the council's own resources. The first 70 new flats are expected to cost around £3.6 million.

Cabinet member for housing Martin D Johnson called on the Mayor of London to back the Wandsworth hidden homes challenge throughout the capital:

"This is an imaginative and sustainable way of helping to meet the demand for affordable housing in London. If we can generate these numbers from just one borough's housing stock just imagine the impact if all 33 London councils did the same.

"We estimate there could be anything from 5,000 to 10,000 disused spaces on estates throughout the capital which could be converted into decent living accommodation."

The new Wandsworth homes will all be let to people in housing need. Where applicants have equal priority the council will give first preference to people living within a one mile radius of the hidden home.

The three Balham Hill flats released today have been created from previously disused store rooms in Faraday House and Hales House.

Estates where hidden homes have already been identified include Albert Bridge Road, Arndale, Ashburton, Aubyn Square, Balham Hill, Clarence Road, Connor Court, Elspeth and Mysore Road, Fitzhugh, Lennox, Lockyer House, Park Court, Southlands, St James's Grove, Surrey Lane, The Pleasance, Tyneham Close, Weybridge Road, Wilditch, Winterfold Close, Wynter Street and York Road.

Hidden homes are also expected to cut down on previous problems of vandalism associated with disused areas on estates. The supply of affordable accommodation in the borough is currently at record levels with around 1300 homes due to come on stream over the next eighteen months.

22nd July 2003

Associated Stories:

Tenants rush to beat March 4 right to buy deadline 30.1.03

Private landlords can benefit from housing schemes 29.10.02

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