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case study


© Paul Samuel White


A new dawn


Lambeth Council delivered its first directly developed scheme in a decade – including the complex conversion of a heritage building into six social housing flats, writes Teodora Lyubomirova.


A


t first sight, there’s nothing unusual at the corner of the busy intersection of Mostyn and Akerman Road in Lambeth’s Vassall Ward in London. However, this is the site of Lambeth Borough


Council’s first directly delivered housing development in 10 years – a significant milestone in times of funding cuts and planning restrictions. The scheme is located in a conservation area and is sandwiched


between numbers 52 and 58 on Akerman Road. The development includes three new build homes, but also the complex conversion of a former hostel, consisting of two adjacent buildings, into six residential flats. Importantly, all homes provided in the project, which the council handed over in January, are for council rent. While the Akerman Road scheme is not notable for its size – it has


created just nine homes in total – its significance lies in the council’s approach to the new build homes as well as the refurbishment of the existing buildings. With a particular focus on sustainability, plans envisaged the new homes to be delivered to Passivhaus – an internationally recognised energy efficiency standard focused on exceptional airtightness, excellent thermal performance and minimum heating demand – with the council keen to upgrade the hostel to similarly high standards. Huw Jones, a Lambeth Borough Council housing development manager, explained the reasoning: “There’s a lot of interest in building


sustainable homes in Lambeth that address fuel poverty. The council recognises that a fabric first approach to building is one way of addressing tenant fuel poverty and as well as also reducing our management costs further down the line. With a fabric first approach you don’t rely on exotic, expensive types of equipment. The attraction for the council is that once we’ve built it, it only requires simple maintenance.”


“The attraction for the council is that once we’ve built it, it only requires simple maintenance”


Lambeth identified the area – a Victorian terrace which had been partly demolished in World War II bombings – as suitable for development. The three new homes would be built into the bomb-damaged infill site, while the team also decided to embark on the complicated refurbishment of the hostel buildings on 56-58 Akerman Road. The two buildings – organised as maisonettes, with the white-rendered


No 58 consisting of two maisonettes, and the brick-clad No 56 housing 11 bedsit rooms with a shared bathroom – had to be extensively retrofitted, with the council making significant alterations to the internal layouts of


24 | HMM March 2017 | www.housingmmonline.co.uk


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