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Why 'Your New Town Hall' is a smart deal for Lambeth

This week a planning application for the redevelopment of the town hall and four other council buildings in Brixton was submitted to Lambeth Council. 

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Under-used council buildings will be sold and turned into residential accommodation. The current, grade 2 listed Town Hall, will be preserved, with new community space added so it will be open not just to council officers, but members of the pubic too. 

It means the total number of office buildings will be reduced from 14 to 2, saving the Council £4.5m per year. 

Just as importantly, the development will allow also us make further strides towards our target of building 1,000 new council homes over the next four years. As part of the Cabinet decision to appoint MUSE as our development partner, we insisted that they should provide Lambeth Planning Policy compliant  40% affordable housing. As a result 78 new affordable homes will be built, 55 of which will be at Council Rent levels.  When the development is taken in its entirety, including the Wynne Road office approved for 100% affordable housing, the number of affordable units rises to 47%.

With the London in the grip of a housing crisis, made worse by the inaction of the Tory - Lib Dem Government, it's good news for the many people on Lambeth's housing waiting list. New Council homes at Rushcroft Road and Somerleyton Road will add further social housing in the heart of Brixton. 

It's good news in other ways too. 600 jobs will be created and around 35 new apprentices will be taken on. We want local workers and local businesses to benefit, so it is encouraging that an estimated 60p on every £1 of construction costs will go to local suppliers.

And despite increases in the headline cost caused mainly by rising inflation in the construction industry, the project will still be entirely self-financing. It won't cost council tax payers a penny.

When Lambeth Lib Dems misleadingly claim the project will cost £50m, it's worth remembering they squandered £26m buying Phoenix House at the height of the property boom.

The needs of our residents, rather than politicians or council officers are driving this project. It's a smart deal for Lambeth - it will deliver new jobs and much-needed homes at the same time as saving the council £4.5m per year.

If approved by the Planning Committee, work will get underway by the end of this year.

Cllr Paul McGlone

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