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Southwark chooses partners for Elephant housing

Southwark Council has chosen two housing association consortia to build and manage the first 1000 homes of the Elephant regeneration, marking the start of the first phase of the ten-year programme.

The two consortia were selected following a year-long procurement exercise. The organisations are Urban Choice (Family Housing Association and Affinity Housing Group) and a consortium of London and Quadrant, Wandle Housing Association and Guiness Trust.

The development combines new homes for Heygate Estate residents with new apartments for sale, with no differentiation in quality between the two. The subsequent demolition of Heygate Estate paves the way for the full-scale regeneration of the Elephant and Castle.

Over the next four years 1,000 homes will be built on fifteen different sites. The sites have been divided into two packages of work, with each consortia taking on one each. The schemes will comprise 70 per cent social housing with the remaining units available for sale or shared ownership.

In April this year, the council announced that a panel of leading architects had been selected to work with the council and housing associations to lead on design of the new housing. By separating the housing association and architectural procurement processes, the council says that it hopes to move away from a formulaic ‘design and build' style, and create a new generation of high quality, distinctive social housing.

A demonstration replacement-housing scheme at Wansey Street in Walworth has started on site this month, testing the procurement process with great success. Southern Housing Group, working with De Rijke Marsh Morgan architects, has created a stunning modern 31-unit scheme that closes the gap between the neighbouring listed Walworth Town Hall and Victorian terraces. The first Heygate residents will move in Spring 2006.

"With Wansey Street underway and the first of many new planning applications expected in early 2006, we share Heygate residents' excitement about the standard of new homes being developed in the area," says Catherine Bowman, deputy leader of Southwark Council. "Our approach to quality design is a hallmark of the vision for the future Elephant and Castle and we believe it's appropriate that Heygate residents are the first to enjoy the fruits of regeneration at the Elephant."

Kevin Morgan, from the Heygate Tenants and Residents Association, added: "The selection process was very fair with the Heygate representatives having a full involvement in scoring the associations. Residents will get the most out of the selected housing associations in terms of community benefits and governance of houses."

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