A successful partnership – Community-led development of council-rent homes built in the shadow of the Shard

Marklake Court, a community-led development by Leathermarket Community Benefit Society (CBS) in partnership with Southwark Council in the heart of London Bridge, provides 27 high quality homes – designed by the award-winning Bell Phillips Architects in partnership with the local community.

The development has seen local people empowered at every stage of the design process, and on completion the homes will be managed by tenants themselves as part of one of the most successful tenant-managed organisations in London, Leathermarket JMB.

Studies show that council tenants, like everyone else, prefer autonomy in decision making about their own homes and local environment. With this in mind, the future tenants have been asked to participate on all elements of the project from blueprints to final finishes. Those living locally will get first choice on the properties.

The new homes are targeted at downsizers, meaning that larger homes are released back into the community for families who need them – in all, over 100 families could benefit from the scheme.

Councillor Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is a hugely significant development as it epitomises what Southwark Council wants for its council tenants – genuinely affordable, very high quality homes in a spectacular location that benefit the local community and have a wide-reaching positive effect for others in the borough. Every step of the design of this scheme has seen tenants’ involvement and I am delighted that Leathermarket JMB will be continuing this process with their management.”

John Paul Maytum, resident Chairman of Leathermarket CBS, said: “Involving residents right from a blank sheet of paper at the very start has enabled us to get the very best outcome for this site. Residents are much happier than with the traditional development approach, because they’ve shaped the design – from the size and layout of the building right down to choosing brick colours and the interiors of flats. This allows us to open up sites that the Council couldn’t do on its own and really tackle the pressing need for new council-rent homes in this area.

We’re delighted that Southwark Council has given the vision, commitment and practical support to make this scheme a shining example of what new council house building can achieve when it embraces a spirit of true partnership with residents.”

The Leathermarket CBS team, led by development managers at igloo Regeneration, is this week celebrating that Buxton Building Contractors Ltd have reached the highest physical point of construction and the homes are really beginning to take shape.

A planning application for a second partnership scheme, on the former Joseph Lancaster Nursery site, has been submitted to the Council this December.