Why do we need a Trust?

What is the Somerleyton Trust?

The Somerleyton Trust will be a not for profit charitable body that Lambeth Council will lease the Somerleyton Road development to (excluding the theatre). It will be a democratic organisation and will be accountable to the residents, non-residential users and local community. Its purpose will be to ensure the Trust’s objectives are delivered throughout the term of the lease.

Why do we need a Trust?

The Trust is the guarantee that the objectives are delivered throughout the 250 year* lease. These objectives include homes that are affordable for local people on a range of incomes, local jobs & training, social cohesion, sustainability and more.

By locking these objectives in a charitable trust ensures that they are not vulnerable to the policy or economic pressures faced by the local authority. If Lambeth ever decides to sell the land, the new freeholder will have to abide by the terms of the lease, so protecting the Trust and its objectives.

*Proposed term of the lease

Why can’t the Trust just manage the development? Does it have to have a lease?

If the Trust did not have a lease, then a future Council administration could decide to sell the properties or reduce the management budget to a level which made it no longer possible to deliver the objectives.

What are the benefits of the Somerleyton Trust?

  • A landlord you can hold to account
  • Homes managed for the benefit of local people.
  • A landlord who will only let space to businesses that help achieve the community’s objectives.
  • A development managed so that it strengthens the local area.
  • The space used in a way so its public and community services have a greater impact and are more resilient.
  • A long-term approach protecting environmental sustainability.


What will happen if there’s not a Trust?

If there’s not a Trust, the site may be divided between various landlords. The social and affordable housing could be provided by a housing association, the market rent housing leased to a private provider, with possibly some of the homes for sale. Housing providers often prefer to separate the social and private housing, so creating ‘poor doors’ and squeezing out those on middle incomes.

It would be likely that the private rent homes and homes for sale would be at the Coldharbour Lane end of the site closer to central Brixton, with social housing at the Loughborough Park end.  As we have seen throughout London, it is difficult to address the issues of social cohesion, community safety, local jobs and training and access to services with this approach.

The community in Brixton are aware of the risks of the other options and the opportunities a Trust would make possible. That is why in 2008 local residents started Brixton Green. We believe the community together with Lambeth Council are developing a solution that addresses some of the issues that have blighted our town.

How is it connected to Brixton Green?

Part of Brixton Green’s role is to help set up the Trust which will protect the community’s objectives. When the development is complete and the Somerleyton Trust is up and running, the community will have succeeded in being at the forefront of this development and Brixton Green’s job will be done.

Click here to see the Trust’s objectives