Lewisham council wants temporary homes block to be used across the borough

A London council has hired Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners to come up with a roving temporary accommodation block which it says will help solve its housing shortage.

The 2,000sq m building is planned for a former council leisure centre site that was knocked down at the beginning of last year but is now sitting empty ahead of redevelopment.

It will cost £4.3 million to build and will be in place for between one and four years at the site in Ladywell. The planned building is fully demountable and the council said it was hoping to use it at other sites in the borough.

The first residential units, which will be two-bedroom, could be occupied by late summer, providing 24 homes as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community and business use.

Lewisham said it had come up with the idea while it waits for housing schemes in the borough to be completed.

The borough’s mayor Steve Bullock said using a building which it can put up and take down before moving it elsewhere was more cost effective than shelling out for bed and breakfast accommodation.

“That is a terrible waste,” he added. “We are also showing with this partnership that we can achieve real quality and value for money.”

RSH&P partner Ivan Harbour said: “We believe this offers a blueprint to meet a wide range of urban housing needs.

“By delivering well-designed, flexible and sustainable accommodation using a quick and cost-effective volumetric technology, we hope to change the way we think about house building in the future.”

He added that the units will exceed current space standard requirements by 10%.

A question and answer session with the architects is planned for this coming Saturday at Lewisham library.

The practice is already working in another south London borough, Merton, where its designs for a number of flatpack homes were given the green light last autumn.