Friars Close: Revitalising the estate and providing better homes

Friars Close redevelopment FAQs


To help explain the redevelopment project in more detail, we’ve created a list of frequently asked questions from residents together with our responses. These will be updated regularly. You can ask questions by emailing: [email protected]

Will my rent remain the same?

Rent levels will stay the same and will not change because of the redevelopment. Your rent may increase annually in line with normal inflation as it currently does.

Will we have a written guarantee of what we are entitled to in terms of keeping the same security of tenure and rights?

Yes, we will put this in writing for you, and make sure you have access to independent legal advice about the changes to your tenancy before you move out of your current home.

Will my Council Tax go up when I move out of my current home?

We will cover any increase in Council Tax, rent and service charge for the duration of your stay in your temporary home.

Once we have ended our tenancy agreement with you, how do we know that you will grant us a new home in the new development?

Riverside have made a clear commitment to ensure that we grant the right to return to a permanent home in the new development to any existing residents who wish to return to the new block. We will also follow this up in writing.

With the changes to different tenancy agreements (temporary move first, and permanent move to the new scheme), will my years with Riverside (including the temporary move) transfer over to my new tenancy and will I have the same rights as I do now?

All your rights and years of tenancy with Riverside will be protected and transferred over to the new tenancy agreement.

Where are you looking for temporary homes?

For those of you who wish to move temporarily, Kalmars have been instructed to look within a one-mile radius from Friars Close and Burrell Street, to ensure you and your families can stay in the local area. In the decant survey, some of you said that they have some flexibility in terms of location or wish to relocate outside London. Kalmars will work with you to identify properties that meet your needs, based on your survey responses.

For those that wish to move away permanently, our housing team will work with you on an individual basis to find you a suitable home that meets your needs.

When will I be asked to move out?

As indicated in the presentation we will not ask you to move until we receive planning permission for our proposals. We will of course keep you updated on the progress of our planning application, and we will provide you with plenty of notice.

Will you provide storage facilities?

Because most properties available within the one-mile radius from Friars Close and Burrell Street are furnished, we will need to either arrange storage or provide furniture packs. We will provide more details on this in due course.

Do Kalmars have a website where we can search for properties?

Kalmars have a website (, however they will provide you with a separate list of what will be available as the properties found will be reserved solely for Riverside residents and not listed on the open market.

What happens to us, if the private landlords want their homes back halfway through the redevelopment process?

Riverside will enter into a legal agreement with the private landlord that can only be ended in very limited circumstances; also, the duration of this agreement will be longer than the process of rebuilding the block. This will ensure better protection for you and your families once you move out of your existing home and, in the very unlikely event that this happened, we would support you to find suitable, alternative temporary accommodation.

Are home loss payments adjusted to the rate of inflation?

The amount of home loss payment you will be entitled to is set by the government and reviewed annually, based on the rate of inflation.

Will Riverside issue us with a disturbance payment to cover the costs involved as part of our moves?

Yes, we will issue you with a disturbance payment that will cover these costs. You will not be out of pocket as a result of moving.

Do I have the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire a new home in the new development?

Right to Buy allows residents on secure tenancies who meet the qualifying criteria to buy the homes they live in at a discount; those on assured tenancies have the Right to Acquire (again subject to meeting the qualifying criteria) which is a less generous discount. You will be able to discuss your individual circumstances on a one-to-one basis at drop-in surgeries with your Independent Tenant Advisors and Resident Liaison Officer.

What is the Right to Acquire?

The Right to Acquire is a scheme that allows qualifying Housing Association residents on secure and assured tenancies to buy the home they live in at a discounted price; the amount of the discount varies between £9,000 and £16,000 however for London properties, the maximum discount would usually apply. We will clarify whether you will have the Right to Acquire in the coming months; and you will be able to discuss your individual circumstances on a one-to-one basis at drop-in surgeries with your Independent Tenant Advisors and Resident Liaison Officer.

What’s the difference between Shared Ownership and Right to Buy?

Right to Buy is a scheme that allows qualifying secure tenants to buy the home they live in at a discount. Shared Ownership is a scheme designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, which enables people who meet certain criteria to buy a share of the property and pay rent for the remaining portion.

How certain are you that you will get planning permission?

We are confident our proposals for Friars Close and Burrell Street will deliver quality homes fit for the future, improve residents’ living conditions, whilst at the same time keeping the community together. To give us the best chance possible of Southwark planners approving our application we will need your continued help. After the scheme amendments have been submitted, we will be in touch again to let you know how you can help show Southwark planners your support for the scheme.

Overcrowding is an issue affecting my family. What happens if the redevelopment doesn’t go ahead?

In the unlikely event that the redevelopment does not go ahead, there are things Riverside can do to help households who are affected by overcrowding, such as transfers to other properties owned by Riverside (including One Housing’s stock in London as part of our recent merger) or property swaps with other registered social housing providers.

What about parking in the new block?

The only parking provided in the new scheme will be five disabled parking bays; general parking will not be provided. This is not a decision by Riverside and it is in line with the net zero policies, set by the Mayor of London and your local authority, for new developments in Central London.

How will you understand my housing need and preferences for my new home?

We will be visiting every tenant to complete a housing needs survey. This is a detailed survey that will provide us with information on your personal need, preferences and aspirations for your home and estate.

What happens to us whilst you are building our new homes, where will we go?

We will discuss the available options on a one-to-one basis with residents. Everyone would need to move off site for what we expect to be a minimum of 2 years.  We have made the assumption that you will want to stay in the local area and will work with you to ensure you have a temporary or permanent home that meets your needs whilst the redevelopment is underway.

Can we move away permanently?

You will have the option to move away either temporarily or permanently.

Can we move back once the new development is complete?

Existing Riverside tenants of Friars Close & Burrell Street will be guaranteed the Right to Return, and a home in the new development.

Will we keep the same tenancy?

All tenants will keep their same tenancy type when they return to their home on the newly built estate.

Will the rents be higher in the new development?

All rents will remain the same for each unit type.

Will elderly people get priority to ground floor flats?

All homes will be accessible on all floors of the development through the installation of lifts and level access to properties. The new development will have wide accessible communal areas in each block to accommodate all needs. We will ask for residents’ preferences when allocating new homes and will accommodate these preferences where possible.

How will we pay for the moving cost?

If you need to move you will get help with costs. This can include things like the cost of disconnecting and reconnecting a washing machine, redirecting mail and removals. If you have to move more than once, you will receive a disturbance allowance each time you move.. Riverside will discuss with you in more detail what is and isn’t covered by a disturbance payment before you move.

If you have lived in your home for over 12 months, you will also be entitled to receive a home loss payment – the amount of this is set by Government and is currently £6,400 (March 2020). You will only receive this payment once. If you are temporarily relocated during redevelopment and then move back to a new home on your estate, it is important to note you will not receive this payment twice. But for each move we will assist you with the costs associated with moving to a new home. The statutory home loss payment will be paid directly to the named tenant.

How many homes are you proposing to build on the site and what will the size and massing of the blocks be?

We will be providing all existing tenants of Friars Close and Burrell Street with a home to meet their need and we will also build some additional affordable homes. To cover the cost of building the new homes for existing residents, we will have to build some homes for private sale too, all of which will result in a more dense site, with higher blocks than what the scheme currently has.

There will be different parties involved in determining the number of homes that we build – Riverside, the local authority, developers, architects and you the tenants.

Will there be more private sale than affordable?

We have no fixed plan of numbers at this stage. Levels of funding to build the affordable homes are low compared to the cost of building a new home. To cover the cost of building new homes for existing residents, we will have to build private sale homes.  There are different parties that will be involved in determining the number of homes that we build, the main being Riverside, the Local Authority, and you as tenants.

Can you guarantee that the new homes will be larger than our current homes?

The new homes will meet the GLA home standards.  Over the next month we will arrange to measure the inside of your home to understand the current size of the existing properties to make a comparison to the GLA size standards.

Will there be segregation between the private sale blocks and the affordable blocks?

No, the site would be tenure blind, you would not be able to tell the difference between affordable and private sale blocks. External communal areas and green spaces will be shared.

Can we design our homes/estate?

We will consult with you throughout the redevelopment process. We will hold consultation events with you to work up design proposals to agree what your new estate looks like including the layout and how the inside of your home could look.

Will there be shared ownership in the new development?

We can explore this if/when the redevelopment goes ahead, no decisions have been made at this point. Our priority is to rehouse existing residents in Friars Close in modern, accessible accommodation.

How much parking will there be?

This will be determined by Southwark Council’s Planning Department and GLA policy. As there is currently no parking at Friars Close, it is unlikely that parking will be provided.

Will the blocks meet fire safety regulations?

All blocks will meet the required health and safety requirements at the time of planning submission. Following the Grenfell tragedy, an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety has been commissioned by the government which recommends new policy for new developments. We will talk you through these during the consultation process.

In the proposed home design, both bedrooms are the same size, will this also be true when the new homes are built?

The proposed homes shown are of typical layouts and these will be developed further as the design progresses. With regards to bedroom sizes, all bedrooms will meet current standards and we will show these to you at a future consultation event.

In the slides, you show 28 current homes, when there are 26. Is this typo?

There are 26 homes in Friars Close and 2 homes in Burrell Street, there are 28 homes in total that fall within the redevelopment programme.

Is this definitely going ahead and if yes when?

Our intention is redevelop Friars Close and Burrell Street, this will be in consultation with both you, our tenants and Southwark Council, we aim to submit a planning application in Summer 21, once planning permission is granted we can then provide a definitive start on site date.

How many blocks will the new development consist of/How high will it go/ How many storeys will there be?

We don’t yet know how many blocks the development will be or how high, however, as shown at the event, we expect the building to be taller than the current building. Southwark Council planning team will influence the size and height of the new building/s and as our conversation with them continues, we will confirm this detail at a future consultation event.

Roughly how long will the redevelopment take?

We imagine the development will take around two years, as we have more information we will be able to update the programme and give you more information.

Can you give us names of the areas of our temporary accommodation?

We are still working through the detail for the temporary accommodation, we intend to provide you with homes that are within walking distance from Friars Close.

Will these homes be up for sale as well?

Yes the homes for sale, along with GLA grant funding will pay towards the cost of the affordable homes that we will build.

What are your sustainability goals for the new build?

We have ambitious sustainability targets which match those set out by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Southwark Council. The development will aim to reduce carbon emissions where possible.

Friars Close is a great name. We don’t want to be called a building or an estate.

We will take into consideration your feelings on the name for the redevelopment and will consult with you on any name for Friars Close.

Will there be free parking for cyclists and/or motorcyclists?

We are required to provide ample storage for bikes within the new development, in addition to storage within properties. There is no requirement or plans currently to provide parking for motorcycles on site.

Can you elaborate a bit more on the opportunity for tenants to express a preference for the property they would like to move too..

Your temporary move will be guided by commitments that we make to you, the ITA will work with you to formalise an offer on your temporary move.  You, the tenants and the ITA will work together to agree guiding principles on your new home, this will cover things such as where your home will be, what size, when you are required to move, costs that will be covered and much more.

I am currently in a three bedroom. I want to know if the kitchen will be separate from the living room?

We understand that most tenants have a preference to have a closed plan kitchen, we are working to meet those preferences and will keep you updated with layouts of the new development.

Will the rent stay the same?

Yes your rent levels and tenancy rights will remain the same.

If you want to move away from the site permanently, could that be an option?

Yes, you can contact you Resident Liaison Officer Jade Adnett on 07980 761482 who will talk to you about the options of moving off the estate either temporarily or permanently.

Will existing residents have the right to buy?

There is no “right to buy” for tenants under their tenancy agreement, this is a right that local councils include for existing tenants, as a housing association we are unable to provide those rights.  The new private sale homes will be on the market for anyone to be able to purchase.

Will the rooftop/open space incur additional cost for the tenants?

It is likely that there will be a service charge increase for the new development due to more services being provided on site. We will plan and design spaces to ensure that the service charge include in the new development is affordable for everyone.

To follow up on the question around some of the houses being put up for market sale, will former residents receive some form of discount if they wanted to purchase a property?

We do not expect that there will be any funding or opportunities available for residents to purchase for sale properties at a discount. This may change by the time we come to sell homes and will let residents know of any updates.

What does SC mean? (in reference to the home layout in the presentation)

SC means service cupboard, this is a space within your home that will hold any service equipment, such as the boiler, meters etc.

In regards to the private open space, will it guarantee safer security for tenants?

We understand how important security is to you, the new development will be designed and managed to ensure that security is a priority and that open spaces will be a safe place for all.

Is it true that you are attempting to decant us all in one place for temporary accommodation? A new build perhaps?

We have not yet identified what the temporary accommodation will be, we are working to ensure that we meet your needs as far as possible in the temporary move.

I have seen examples where affordable housing tenants have a different entrance to private tenants/ has a decision been made on where the main entrance to the site will go?

We have committed to ensuring the whole of the redevelopment is tenure blind throughout – this means you will not be able to tell the difference between market sale and affordable rented accommodation. We do not yet know where the entrance will be or how many but they will be completed to the same standard.

Will there be parking spaces for residents/ What about parking for non-blue badge holders?

The new development will be parking free, apart from the requirement to provide disabled parking spaces. Any residents who have parking permits for the local area, issued by Southwark, you will be able to retain these permits.

What form of intercom/ access control system will be installed?

Our intention is to install audio visual door entry, the detail of this will be provided at a later stage.

Will there be children play area/outdoor gyms?

As shown in our open space images we will be required to provide play space for children of a wide range of ages. We currently have no plans for outdoor gyms, this would be equipment that would add to a service charge cost, however if this is something residents are interested in incorporating we can look at options.

Will you be starting the scheme from scratch?

We will come up with a completely new scheme, but will take account of all the feedback (to date) that you have already provided through our consultation with you.

Will the size of homes remain the same as what you have already shown us?

The size of homes will remain the same and we remain committed to providing you with a home that meets your housing need. Overall changes will be related to the number of homes, heights of the building/s and scheme layout.

Will homes be built to accommodate climate change, ensuring they are warm during the winter, and ventilated (cool) during summer? Will you provide air conditioning?

We are thinking about climate change and will make the new homes as energy efficient as possible through both the design and the materials that we use. Riverside is very conscious of its responsibility to help the government meet its target of carbon net zero by 2050. It is unlikely that we will provide air conditioning, however, homes will be designed with good ventilation, insulation, and passive measures to prevent overheating.

Will homes remain on one level?

Yes all homes will be on a single level, with step free access to all rooms.

Why didn’t Southwark support the initial plans that you showed us?

There were many reasons, including the number of homes and heights of the building, but they also had unreasonable expectations around the layout and the amount of amenity space that we needed to provide. Also the process of meeting with Southwark council and having discussions was very challenging, resulting in delays, which ultimately impacted on securing funding from the Greater London Authority to help us build these homes.

Do you have any idea on heights?

We are at an early stage in design and it would not be accurate or fair to comment on heights at this point, except to say that we expect a taller building than the one we last showed you.

I am concerned that the delay will affect my family as we are overcrowded and you are asking us to remain in our current homes for another two years.

All residents have the opportunity to move off the estate from this point on. If you would like a transfer off the estate please contact your Housing Officer, David Wade or your Resident Liaison Officer, Jade Adnett, and we will work with you to identify a property that meets your housing need. All residents have the Right to Return (RTR) and will be able to return to a newly built home.

Decants - when is this likely to be and what are the time frames to move people?

We will be able to provide more accurate timeframes at an event in early 2022. We anticipate the temporary moves will start in approx. 2 years.

What if Southwark council do not support your proposal on the second time around, and you don’t get a planning approval?

This is one of the reasons we have teamed up with Mount Anvil (MA), they have the expertise and planning experience to create a scheme that the planners will accept. We also have the option to appeal the council’s decision if we believe the scheme meets their requirements and is rejected for a second time.

Do the residents voice count towards the planning decision?

We must meet specific planning requirements when developing proposals, however Southwark council and the Riverside board have made it clear that proposals must be supported by the residents, so demonstrating resident support also forms part of the planning submission. Having the community behind us will impact decisions made. The voice of tenants is powerful.

Will you get the GLA (Greater London Authority) grant?

Due to the delays that we have outlined, we will not be able to meet the timescales needed to secure the GLA grant. The rules for GLA grant funding in the future have changed and it is unlikely that we will have another chance to secure grant funding. This means we will have to make changes to the scheme to make it financially viable and will have to increase the number of private sale homes to subsidise the cost of the social and affordable homes.

Will the lack of funding effect the rent levels?

We remain committed to keeping existing rent levels for each unit size. Rents for existing tenants will not increase due to redevelopment.

Where will you get the money to build if do not get the grant?

We will need to increase the number of private sale homes that we build. The money made from the sale of these homes will help cover the cost of the affordable homes.

Will the affordable homes be built to the same spec as the private?

There may be some differences in the finishes within the homes, but the design, quality, and care taken will be the same for all homes whether for sale or for rent. Block/s will be tenure blind, so that that from outside, you would not be able to tell which is rented and which is privately owned.

Will it be possible to visit a social rent home on one of your sites?

We are looking into arranging this for one of the Mount Anvil completed sites. We will come back to you with more detail on this soon.

Will you still consult with the residents?

We will continue to consult with you at each key milestone, ensuring you are kept up to date on proposals and discussions with the council. We will provide you with a resident engagement programme in early 2022.

If you were not able to attend the event please contact Jade Adnett on 07980 761482 to arrange a meeting or talk to a member of the team to update you on how were are moving forward with the redevelopment of Friars Close and Burrell Street.