Who are Leathermarket CBS?

The Leathermarket Community Benefits Society is a non-profit organisation formed in 2014 specifically to generate much needed genuinely affordable homes, led by local people for local people, on underused land on the Leathermarket JMB estates.  The CBS was established in response to local residents raising concerns about their housing need and the lack of truly affordable housing.

The primary objectives of the CBS are:

Achievements and performance

Since the completion of the CBS’s first 27 homes at Marklake Court in 2018, we have built on the many strengths of our community-led housing model and have seen considerable enthusiasm for moving forward with an expanded delivery programme of local, social-rent schemes.

The second CBS development on the former Joseph Lancaster nursery building, delivered 40 social rent homes – 6 mews houses and 34 flats, as well as new communal garden and play space for children – on the Lawson Estate, which completed in May 2022.  As was the case with the first CBS development at Marklake Court, it is a significant achievement that 100% of the new homes were let at social rent levels.

These homes were design in collaboration with the JMB and local residents. Delivery of these homes and community facilities have been made possible by support and funding from Southwark Council and the Greater London Authority (GLA).


The CBS was established in 2014 by dedicated members of the Leathermarket Joint Management Board (JMB), to address the pressing issue of affordable housing in our local area.

The Affordable Housing Group conducted a comprehensive survey of Leathermarket residents in February 2012, garnering 169 responses that yielded four significant conclusions:

  1. An overwhelming 94% of respondents believed that there should be a greater availability of genuinely affordable social housing in the JMB area.
  2. A remarkable 85% expressed support for constructing social housing on unused or underutilized land within their estate.
  3. A strong 77% emphasized the importance of staying in the JMB area, with 38% actively involved in local community groups.
  4. An astounding 93% of residents could not afford rents exceeding £200 per week or the maximum amount covered by housing benefits.

Additionally, the survey revealed critical information regarding the financial and family circumstances of Leathermarket JMB tenants:

  1. An overwhelming 99% of households reported a housing income of less than £30,000.
  2. A significant 55% were registered for re-housing with the Council.
  3. Another 10% described themselves as being in housing need but were not registered with the Council.
  4. A substantial 70% of homes indicated overcrowding, compared to an average of 35% across Southwark as a whole.
  5. A striking 56% lacked funds for a deposit if they wished to buy a property.
  6. An astonishing 85% would not have the financial means for a deposit if they wished to rent privately.

The Affordable Housing Group’s research also found that by 2012 a significant reduction in council-rent housing on the JMB estates because: