Southwark Council's programme of rooftop housing development
In October 2019, Southwark Council outlined its plans to introduce a set of principles, or promises to residents, to guide a proposed bespoke programme of rooftop development aiming to provide vital new council housing.
 Tackling the housing shortage
Southwark faces an acute housing need with over 12,000 families on the waiting list and over 2,000 children currently living in temporary accommodation. The council has one of the most ambitious council housebuilding programmes in the country with a commitment to build 11,000 brand new council homes by 2043. Over 600 council homes have already been delivered, and more are on the horizon, but with available land in short supply the council is looking at new and innovative ways to build more housing. This includes a special focus on unlocking potentially hundreds of new homes with upward extensions on existing blocks. But the council is also aware of the impact this will have on people living in the affected buildings and has drafted a series of principles and commitments to maximise the benefits and minimise the impacts on residents.
“We’ve spoken to residents about the opportunities and challenges linked to rooftop housing and the kind of preferences that were raised were things like their desire to remain on the top floor, being prioritised for the new homes and improvements being made to the rest of the block.
“Unlocking a new dimension of council housing supply like this is not going to be straightforward, but we are driven by the potential for hundreds, potentially thousands of new council homes in our borough. We plan to offer a quicker on-site construction time by doing most of the building off-site, [giving] first refusal on the new homes to those living underneath, and improvements to the existing block, with any costs associated with the new homes – such as a new roof, lift and landscaping – non-rechargeable to leaseholders.
“We are also developing an accompanying rooftop design guide that will detail some of the best options to complement and enhance an existing block well, maximise internal living and amenity space and solutions for connecting new homes to existing services.”
 Maximising offsite construction
One of the ways the council is promising to minimise the impact on existing residents is to build rooftop homes in a modular form, off-site and crane them onto adapted blocks, significantly shortening the time construction is on site. Residents living immediately underneath the new homes will be given the first opportunity to move into them, so people previously living on the top floor will have the chance to stay on the top floor and in a brand-new home. The vacated properties will then be made available to those on the waiting list.
 About this article
This article was previously published on the IHBC website in October 2019 under the title: ‘Southwark Council plans new principles for bespoke programme of rooftop development’. It can be accessed HERE.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Air rights buildings.
- Community infrastructure levy.
- Existing use value.
- Future proofing.
- Hope value.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- Residual valuation.
- Site selection and acquisition.
- Site appraisal.
- Speculative construction.
Ireland’s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, announced a new funding stream to support Local Authorities (LAs) to purchase vacant buildings that could be converted and developed for community use.
Eleven pubs across England have been recognised for their historic or unusual interiors, as they have been listed, upgraded or relisted.
The Heritage Sector Resilience Plan, developed by the Historic Environment Forum (HEF) with the support of Historic England, has been launched.
An ‘All-Island’ commitment to Ireland’s vernacular heritage has been established with the signing of the North South Agreement on Vernacular Heritage, supporting traditional buildings etc.
Canons House, a landmark building on Bristol Harbourside, has been awarded Grade II (GII) listed status having been built as a regional headquarters for Lloyds Bank between 1988 and 1991 (Arup)
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has announced a new project with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to improve and modernise the home energy rating scheme used to measure the energy and environmental performance of UK homes.
Sector lead the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has recognised the IHBC’s professional accreditation and support (CPD etc.) in awarding its PQP (Professionally Qualified Person) cards.
Work to repair a fire-hit medieval hotel in Gloucester is underway as crews have started work to strip back some of the modern trappings and reveal the historic framework.
The Secretariat to the European Heritage Heads Forum has has coordinated its declaration of solidarity and support for Ukraine’s cultural heritage institutions.
2022 will see the IHBC mark a quarter of a century since our incorporation as a professional body supporting and accrediting built and historic environment conservation specialists. We’re kick-starting it by inviting your ideas on how to mark this special year!