Lewisham Council buys old pub to house rough sleepers

By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter

A former pub in Lewisham is set to house rough sleepers in Lewisham from next week.  

Lewisham Council successfully made a bid for funding to the Greater London Authority (GLA) through the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme (RSAP) to go towards buying the Sydney Arms. 

London councils were invited to bid for capital funding from the RSAP to help with purchasing and developing buildings into longer term move-on accommodation for rough sleepers.    

The council officially bought the building in January 2021 with the hopes of reducing temporary accommodation costs.  

The pub in Lewisham Road has already been converted into 16 flats. 

As of September 2020, almost 2,500 households were living in TA across the borough – 760 of those were in nightly paid accommodation, the most expensive and insecure form of TA.  

The average cost of a self-contained nightly paid one-bedroom property is about £5,700 per household per year, although it can be significantly higher.  

A report asking for permission to lease the building to the council’s housing arm Lewisham Homes, if necessary, was approved by mayor and cabinet on Wednesday (February 10). 

Presenting it, the cabinet member for housing and planning, Cllr Paul Bell, said: “The accommodation will be used to support rough sleepers to move into long-term, sustainable accommodation. 

“Some necessary building works are being undertaken and we are looking at an occupation by the end of next week for residents.” 

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