Solution To The Housing Crisis?

Cally Skinner sees new houses popping up in Lewisham.


East London is well known for its love of pop-ups, but now there is new kid on the block: pop-up villages.

The first of these is to be constructed in Ladywell, Lewisham, to house homeless families who are currently living in temporary accommodation such as B&B’s.

The number of homeless families living in B&B’s has hit a 12-year high. The rise in property prices and rents means it is nearly impossible for some families to find a stable home.

Lewisham Council is creating a pop-up village to provide homes for some of the 9,135 people on its housing waiting list – more than 500 of these are currently housed in B&B’s.

The £4.3 million scheme will provide 24 homes in 880 square metres of space.

The flats are to be built off site in a factory since this is cheaper, and they will arrive at the site in two pieces: the living area and kitchen; and the bedrooms.

The homes are small enough to be put on a truck and moved around the country.

Each home costs £90,000 to make. Made with lightweight timber, they are meant to last for 60 years. During that time they are likely to be moved from one location to another.

Lewisham’s pop-up village is taking shape on the site of an old leisure centre.

At some point in the future, the land is likely to contain a permanent mix of social and private housing – assuming planning permission is granted for premises that will eventually take the place of the pop-ups.

In the meantime, homeless people all over London must be hoping that other councils will draw up plans for pop-up villages along Lewisham’s lines.