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Frequently asked questions

We're keen to make sure all Royal Greenwich residents are kept informed about Greenwich Builds. Below are answers to some of the questions we've been asked about the programme which we hope will prove useful.

  • London property has become unaffordable for many people. Local authorities used to be able to help by building homes which could be let at reduced rents to those on low incomes, but between 2012 and 2018 central government placed a limit on how much money Councils were able to borrow, leaving them without enough funds to build the homes needed.

    In Royal Greenwich we now have more than 25,000 households on our housing waiting list with over 1600 homeless households in temporary accommodation, because there simply aren’t enough properties available to house them permanently.

    In 2018 the Mayor of London made £1bn available to councils to start building homes again via the Building Council Homes for London scheme. Royal Borough of Greenwich received some of this money, and with the limit on borrowing lifted we raised £200 million to start creating the homes that are so much needed in our borough.

  • Our aim for the first phase of Greenwich Builds was to create over 750 brand new homes across the borough to house those families and individuals most in need of somewhere to live, with an aim to build more after this target is reached. As of late 2022, over 740 of these homes are now either underway or complete.

    In mid-2022, a second phase of the Greenwich Builds programme was announced, adding a further 1,000 homes to the original target. 

    Most of what we're building will be homes for families, as demand for these on our waiting list is high. One in ten homes will be wheelchair-adapted. Some of the sites we’ve identified may prove to be unsuitable for building homes, so the actual number may vary. You can see a full list of locations here.

    On top of this, we are working with housing associations, developers and Meridian Home Start (a community benefit society set up by the council) to create hundreds of additional homes for local people to be let at social or genuinely affordable rents.

  • We identified over 50 sites of council-owned land as potential sites for our new homes, and over 30 of these sites now have homes under construction or complete. You can see the locations and details of all sites on our where we're building page. 

    We’re hoping to be able to build homes on all these sites but we’re still doing studies on those added most recently, and it is possible that not all of them will be suitable for building residential property. 

  • It’s really important to us that local residents are part of helping us shape these developments. As soon as we have our first designs ready to show, we contact everyone in the areas surrounding our sites by letter to invite you to an online consultation. 

    You can then see the initial designs and let us know your thoughts via a questionnaire. To see a list of consultation events for each site please click the relevant location on our where we're building page.

    Please note that the fact we've drawn up plans does not mean that homes will definitely be built.

  • As well as the consultation meetings outlined in the answer above, we will keep residents living near potential build sites updated on key developments by letter.

  • Work on over 740 of the 750 homes in phase one of Greenwich Builds was started by 2022, with many beginning much earlier than that. We have now begun consulting with those living near our planned phase two sites, in order to make sure that their concerns are taken into consideration as part of the planning process.

    To see details of when work will start on a particular site please see our where we're building page.

  • Wherever possible we are using modular or SIPs construction to build as fast and efficiently as we can, as well as using contractors who can manage the whole process to make it as fast as possible.

    Because of this we anticipate many of our homes being built relatively quickly once work has started.

  • We’re keen to start the conversation with residents in areas around Greenwich Builds sites as early as possible, so we can better understand the impact that any development may have.

    Those living closest to our sites will be contacted first by letter, informing them of our plans and giving them an opportunity to give initial feedback.

    This will be followed by letter to the wider local community offering an invitation to a consultation meeting either online or at a local venue.

    Following these steps we will take all the feedback we receive and use it to inform our decision about how to proceed with developing the site.

    We will then write to local residents one more time offering them a final opportunity to comment before we submit our planning application for the site.

  • The money to build our new homes is a combination of existing Council funds, a grant from the GLA, reinvested Right to Buy receipts and borrowing. The borrowed funds will be offset over time by rental income from Greenwich Builds tenants.

  • In order to keep the local economy growing it is essential that we invest in affordable housing. Not doing so would eventually mean that key workers such as nurses and teachers would be priced out of the borough completely. 

    Central government do not allow us to reinvest all of the money from people who bought their council home under Right to Buy, so in order to build affordable homes we have no other option but to borrow money to top up the Mayor of London’s grant.

    The good news however is that rental income from Greenwich Builds tenants will eventually cover the cost of the loan, and the greater economic prosperity created by relieving the housing crisis will translate into healthier finances for the borough as a whole.

  • The homes will be allocated to the families and individuals on our housing waiting list who we've assessed as being most in need. For an explanation of how our homes are allocated please visit our Housing Bands page.

  • Wherever possible we're building our homes using modular or SIPs construction techniques. This means that whole sections are built off-site, before being craned into place on site. These sections  are made from the same materials and are designed to exactly the same codes and standards as conventionally built homes, but in around half the time and with less disruption to the surrounding area.

  • We’re interested in hearing from contractors or architects who are interested in bidding to provide services for Greenwich Builds, especially those companies or individuals based in the Royal Borough. To find out more please contact us at greenwich-builds@royalgreenwich.gov.uk to introduce yourself.

  • As with all Council homes, Greenwich Builds properties are allocated to people who are on our housing waiting list in order of need. If you'd like to be added to the list please apply via our Housing Register page.

  • While there is some uncertainty around the impact of Brexit on the building sector and therefore Greenwich Builds, we are working with our contractors and suppliers to make sure every possible precaution is taken to make sure the project is not negatively affected by the UK leaving the EU.

  • You can get in touch via the Greenwich Builds email address.

(Version 1.6, last update 14/04/23)