They’re rehousing their residents in some pretty odd places, that lot at Wandsworth Council.
In an impressive initiative called Hidden Homes, the chief bods of this creative borough are re-evaluating all their abandoned nooks and crannies, coal holes and closets to see if they can be reclaimed, redesigned and refurbished. There are many redundant corners to most council estates – stores and community facilities which are no longer in use. These are not only dead space, useful only to makers of Channel 4 films and Doctor Who, but they attract graffiti and all sorts of anti-social nastinesses. Wandsworth had the brilliant idea of converting these cultural black holes into viable living spaces to help meet the ever-growing demand for more housing.
They are making astonishing progress. Seventy such projects are near completion, and another 130 are on the way. Each ‘new’ flat costs an average of £20,000 less to create than it would to build from scratch.
Which has to be a lot better than today’s other ‘oh-my-goodness-where-are-we-going-to-put-everyone’ story, which features less than creative panjandrums with their eyes on the green belt.
Anyway, Londonist thinks that the whole idea is really, really cool. It is almost as exciting as recreating the bridge of the Starship Enterprise with sheets and a trolley under the stairs (when we were seven).
Vaguely relevant image from Ramson's Flickrstream.