Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Lesbian housing pitched in Leyton

If it goes ahead, the development would be a UK first

Hero for Lesbian housing pitched in Leyton
Tyndall Gardens in Tyndall Road (credit: Google Streetview)
By Victoria Munro 31 July 2022

A run-down former council block in Leyton could become the UK’s first cohousing scheme specifically for LGBT people.A run-down former council block in Leyton could become the UK’s first cohousing scheme specifically for LGBT people.

Tyndall Gardens, in Tyndall Road, is a block of 30 flats, which Waltham Forest Council transferred to housing association London & Quadrant in 2002.Tyndall Gardens, in Tyndall Road, is a block of 30 flats, which Waltham Forest Council transferred to housing association London & Quadrant in 2002.

The block is now “mostly vacant and in a very poor state of repair”, according to a report prepared for council leaders, and would be too costly for L&Q to refurbish on its own.The block is now “mostly vacant and in a very poor state of repair”, according to a report prepared for council leaders, and would be too costly for L&Q to refurbish on its own.

Instead, L&Q hopes to hand over the block to London Older Lesbian Cohousing (LOLC), who would be able to redevelop it with help of funding from the Greater London Authority.Instead, L&Q hopes to hand over the block to London Older Lesbian Cohousing (LOLC), who would be able to redevelop it with help of funding from the Greater London Authority.

A report prepared for a meeting of council leaders reads: “The scheme presents an opportunity for the borough to host the first UK LGBTQI+ cohousing scheme.A report prepared for a meeting of council leaders reads: “The scheme presents an opportunity for the borough to host the first UK LGBTQI+ cohousing scheme.

“This would, in addition, provide housing for a protected group at a later stage of their lives, meeting the council’s policies, as well as diversity and inclusion objectives.”“This would, in addition, provide housing for a protected group at a later stage of their lives, meeting the council’s policies, as well as diversity and inclusion objectives.”

LOLC describe themselves on their website as “a group of lesbians aged fifty plus, who are trying to create a new way of living together as [they] grow older”.LOLC describe themselves on their website as “a group of lesbians aged fifty plus, who are trying to create a new way of living together as [they] grow older”.

They hope to create a block of around 25 homes, each with its own flat and front door but with shared outside and inside space for meals, meetings and other activities.They hope to create a block of around 25 homes, each with its own flat and front door but with shared outside and inside space for meals, meetings and other activities.

Council leaders agreed in principle to allow L&Q to hand over the block to LOLC, noting that they could revisit the decision if the scheme is not finished in two years.Council leaders agreed in principle to allow L&Q to hand over the block to LOLC, noting that they could revisit the decision if the scheme is not finished in two years.

The report notes that six of the 30 flats are currently lived in, with five rented and one owned by a leaseholder, while property guardians occupy some of the remaining block.The report notes that six of the 30 flats are currently lived in, with five rented and one owned by a leaseholder, while property guardians occupy some of the remaining block.

L&Q will need to rehouse the renters and negotiate with the leaseholder to buy the flat before the block can be handed over.L&Q will need to rehouse the renters and negotiate with the leaseholder to buy the flat before the block can be handed over.

Even if handed over successfully, the LOLC would still need to apply for planning permission before going ahead with any redevelopment.Even if handed over successfully, the LOLC would still need to apply for planning permission before going ahead with any redevelopment.