Newham Council to deliver hundreds of new homes for residents above existing blocks

Posted 14 December 2020

  • Newham Cabinet approves new modular homes programme to scope potential for building new homes on top of existing council blocks, by wholly owned housing company, Populo Living.
  • Initial phase could see more than 200 new genuinely affordable homes at social rent, delivered across Newham starting from 2021/22.
  • This new form of land supply, using the roof areas of existing buildings has the potential to deliver many hundreds of new affordable homes in the borough during the next few years, is part of Mayor Fiaz’s ambitious to accelerate housing delivery in the borough.

New rooftop homes for social rent could be built above existing council-owned blocks in Newham, following plans agreed by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and her Cabinet, as part of the administration’s ambitious plan to accelerate housing delivery in the borough for Newham residents.  

Populo Living, Newham Council’s wholly owned housing company, has been working with the Council on an innovative in-house modular offsite construction programme to super-charge the additional supply of genuinely affordable homes. Populo has been the given the green light to progress with phase one of the programme, using around ten council owned blocks which have the potential to deliver more than 200 new social rent homes. An initial assessment of the Council’s existing housing stock suggests at least 500 homes can be delivered quickly using this method, with potential for many more.

Existing tenants in the selected blocks would be the first to be offered the new London Affordable Rent homes under the Council’s plans, freeing up existing council homes for those on Newham’s growing housing waiting list. The new homes will be built to zero carbon standards, which will mean the homes, will also be cheaper to run for residents. The project would include upgrade works to the existing blocks to significantly reduce their carbon footprint as part of the Council’s response to the Climate Emergency declaration and action plan approved last year.

Analysis by Populo highlights how the innovative approach could reduce the cost of building social housing by up to 25 percent. Existing residents would benefit from investment in their blocks during construction, which will also reduce the ongoing maintenance cost for the Council as an additional financial benefit.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz OBE said: “This exciting project will help deliver new affordable homes whilst reducing our carbon footprint and costs for the Council. I am committed to delivering more than 1,000 new social rent homes by March 2022. I’m proud that the Council is embracing innovative technologies to deliver high quality, new, affordable homes quickly. This project has huge potential to deliver thousands of homes across the borough over the next few years.”

Cllr Shaban Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Housing Services added: “As Lead Member for Housing Services l very excited by the airspace projects taking place in the Borough that will not only add much needed Housing stock but also make homes more energy efficient and greener. This will be the next stage in council home evolution."

Populo Living is central to Newham Council’s Housing Delivery programme. Working closely alongside Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Populo is committed to ensuring 50 per cent of all the homes it builds are at social rent levels. Newham Council plans to invest up to £1.4bn in Populo's housing projects during the next 15 years. 242 genuinely affordable homes will be under construction by Populo by March 2021; helping the Mayor to reach her target of 1,000 genuinely affordable council homes by March 2022, in 2020-21 Populo will complete 47 affordable homes.

The Cabinet Report on the Building rooftop affordable homes Project is available here

Archived Media Centre