The new Hambrook House at the foot of Brixton Hill could be operated under a ‘poor doors’ entrance system as part of the Your Nu Town Hall project. Recently published minutes [pdf] for a meeting between the developer and residents shows that the social housing will be restricted to one part of the development.
Poor doors refer to a development where the rich have a private entrance. The bespoke lobby area might contain concierge services, separate parking arrangements or even a rubbish disposal facility for the private accommodation.
To keep the costs down for any council tenants, developers build into the plans two systems of entrance: one for the rich, and then a less well-heeled poor door, usually around the back.
Sadly Hambrook House looks like introducing a ‘them and us’ style of living to Brixton as part of Lambeth Council’s Your Nu Town Hall project.
The minutes for a meeting staged by Lambeth Council and Muse Developments last November have just been published.
“All of the affordable housing will be on the lower floors at the rear of the building so that only people who choose to live at height, do so. This will also all be in one area of the building, as requested by the Housing Association, to help with administration and maintenance.”
The Lambeth Labour ‘aim’ for 40% affordable housing in all new builds in the borough is just about covered in some of the detail coming out of the meeting.
“Hambrook House is proposed to have 94 apartments with between 33 – 40% affordable housing.”
There is also confirmation in the minutes about the ever-changing size of Hambrook House. Initially the tower block didn’t appear in the original proposals for Your Nu Town Hall. The minutes for the meeting now state:
“The height has reduced in size from 20 storeys to 14, and now has more of a staggered approach across the building.”
The poor doors issue is usually justified so that residents with little income can afford to live in a development. Developers like the idea as it reduces costs and makes the ‘inclusive’ idea more appealing in any planning application.
What is different here however is that the new Hambrook House will be homes built by Lambeth Council. If a poor doors situation is allowed to go through as part of a Council led development, then it shows the extent as to how far Lambeth Council will allow the gentrification of Brixton to continue.