Plan could see 200 homes built on rooftops in Newham

A picture of houses in Newham

Newham wants to put pre-fabs on top of some of its existing blocks. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Plans to build more than 200 homes on top of council-owned blocks have been agreed by the town hall. 

Newham Council’s housing company, Populo Living, hopes to turbo-charge the supply of what it describes as "genuinely affordable" social rent homes by putting pre-fabs on top of the local authority's buildings.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “This exciting project will help deliver new affordable homes whilst reducing our carbon footprint and costs."

Populo Living is due to kickstart phase one of a £59million programme set to affect about 10 blocks.

An assessment of the council’s existing housing stock suggests at least 500 homes can be put up at speed.

Existing tenants in the blocks would be the first to be offered the London affordable rent homes. 

The expectation is this would then free up existing council homes for people on Newham’s housing waiting list.

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Building on top of existing properties is considered a cheaper alternative to traditional schemes because there are no land purchase costs.

The homes are due to be built to zero carbon standards, meaning they should be cheaper to run.

The project could include improvement works to the existing blocks to reduce their carbon footprint.

Populo Living estimates the approach could reduce the cost of building social homes by up to 25 per cent.

In her election manifesto, the mayor committed to building at least 1,000 social rent homes in her first term.

Ms Fiaz said: "I’m proud the council is embracing innovative technologies to deliver high quality, new, affordable homes quickly.

"This project has huge potential to deliver thousands of homes across the borough over the next few years.”

Cllr Shaban Mohammed, cabinet member for housing services, added: “l am very excited by the airspace projects taking place in the borough that will not only add much needed housing stock, but also make homes more energy efficient and greener. This will be the next stage in council home evolution."

The mayor and Populo Living has committed to making sure that 50pc of all homes it builds are at social rent levels.

Newham plans to invest up to £1.4billion in Populo Living's housing projects over the next 15 years.

A total of 242 "genuinely affordable" homes are due to be under construction by March next year.

Populo reports that it will complete 47 "affordable" homes this year.