It is with great regret that Leathermarket Community Benefit Society has announced that it has suspended its operations with effect from 1 October 2015 due to the failure of Southwark Council to provide the funding it has promised in time.
Leathermarket CBS exists to drive the resident-led design and construction of new council-rent homes in the Leathermarket area and is currently developing its first scheme for 27 new ‘council-rent’ homes on the Kipling Estate, Weston Street and has started planning for the Joseph Lancaster Nursery on the Lawson Estate, Deverell Street.
Southwark Council’s Cabinet agreed to work in partnership with Leathermarket CBS in September 2014 as part of the Council’s plans to build 11,000 new council homes. Since that decision, in a series of meetings over 2014 and 2015, senior councillors have repeatedly agreed to provide the funding for the CBS to take forward its work from April 2015, building on initial funding from the Greater London Authority, Leathermarket JMB, Community Land Trust and United St Saviour’s Charity.
Despite these repeated assurances, senior council officers have proved unable to bring forward the funding required in time to continue the CBS’s operation while the negotiations around formal land transfer and funding agreements are concluded. As such the Leathermarket CBS Board has voted, with great regret, to suspend its operations until further funding is available.
Leathermarket CBS Chair John Paul Maytum MBE said:
“I can’t begin to say how disappointing this is, not just for those of us at the centre of the CBS but for those families who have worked with us to build up the plans for these much-needed new council-rent homes and are hoping to move in when they are built.
“We know that every month of delay at this stage puts these families a month further away from getting the home to suit their needs.
“This has been a deeply frustrating process for us and, despite a series of meetings with the most senior councillors and their teams, the senior officers at Southwark Council seem to have been unable to turn the politician’s assurances into the action that we need.
“I hope we will be able to resolve this situation by the end of the year and get everybody back on the move again. We owe that to everybody who has put so much in so far to deliver the quality new council-rent homes that our community needs.”
The Annual General Meeting of Leathermarket Community Benefit Society will be held at Bermondsey Village Hall on Wednesday, 21 October from 6:30pm onwards. The planning application for the new homes on the Kipling Estate, Weston Street has been fully funded to date and so should be able to continue whilst the CBS operations are suspended.