Lewisham's pop-up village to cut bill for housing families

Could Lewisham's pop-up village be a blueprint to help councils solve the problem of housing families?
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You've heard of pop-up restaurants, pop-up shops and even pop-up theatres — now London is to get its first pop-up “village”, designed by internationally renowned architect Richard Rogers.

Lewisham council has asked him to design a temporary cluster of 24 two-bedroom houses which will remain up for four years on the site of demolished Ladywell Leisure Centre, before permanent homes are constructed. Lord Rogers hopes the scheme will become a cost-effective blueprint for other councils desperate to house families who would otherwise be placed in expensive B&Bs.

The leisure centre closed in 2013 and the site is earmarked for redevelopment eventually, but temporarily it will have the factory-constructed, four-floor modular housing blocks, along with space for local businesses. 

Named the Ladywell Pop-up Village, it will cost £4.3 million. At the moment, 600 Lewisham families are in temporary accommodation, at an annual cost of around £3 million. 
The plan is for the building to feature “colourful and uplifting” cladding in yellow, green, pink and orange. When the site is developed, the blocks can be dismantled and moved on.
It could be used over a number of years and in different locations across the borough,” says a spokesman for architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. “The first residential units could be occupied as early as late summer.”

Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock says: “This scheme could solve the all-too-common problem that plagues many development sites which sit unused for years while complex regeneration plans are put together. It is a terrible waste having thousands of people on our housing waiting list and paying out for expensive bed and breakfast.”

London councils  are being forced to look at increasingly innovative ways to create new housing. A recent report by consultancy group WSP claims 630,000 new homes could be created in the capital by building extra floors on to schools, hospitals and even prisons.

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