A group of Southwark residents gathered last week to protest the possible redevelopment of a block of flats on their estate.
Southwark Council has chosen 49-56 Dodson Street – known as Little Dodson – and some garages as the site for about eleven new socially rented homes in a four or five-storey block.
The council is still in consultation regarding the site and expects to submit planning permission in autumn this year, according to a newsletter shared with residents. Building work would start next summer and finish in autumn 2023, if everything goes ahead as planned.
The block currently has eight flats, six of which are lived in by council tenants. One is owned by a leaseholder and the other is empty. The council’s newsletter says that 50 per cent of the new flats will go to “existing local residents in housing need”.
Meanwhile all six council tenants believe they have a right to return to the new building when work is completed, according to a note by the tenants’ and residents’ association.
Jacquie Gilmartin, who lives in a neighbouring block on the estate, said the building work would be very disruptive for the community.
“I’m so angry. Our neighbours don’t want to move. And we don’t want them to go. So we’ve got to fight for them. By the time they’re allowed to move back they’ll be settled somewhere else. How likely is it they’ll want to come back here?”
“I’ve got severe respiratory disease, so I can’t live where they’re building – it will kill me because I’ve had lung cancer. That’s just another issue on top of everything else going on. You might as well bury me now, with all the dust going on with the building.”
The group is organising a number of different protests in the weeks ahead and has organised a petition to take to the council. “We have to keep fighting – no one else is going to do it for us,” Ms Gilmartin said.