Custom House is undergoing regeneration. For the last three years the Council has been working together with residents, the Custom House Steering Group, council officers, and a team of architects to develop housing and regeneration proposals to improve the neighbourhood at the heart of Freemasons Road E16.
Over the years the area has suffered from neglect and consequently is an area of high deprivation with many households in temporary accommodation. But Custom House is still a very close-knit community with a strong community spirit. The Council’s aim is to provide much needed, genuinely affordable and highly energy efficient housing and so create a more vibrant, safer and healthier neighbourhood. In the meantime, the Council has embarked on a refurbishment programme to bring all the existing homes up to a decent standard while the community waits for the regeneration to begin.
The proposed Phase 1 Masterplan aims to deliver around 600-700 high quality, energy efficient homes, a new health centre, improved green open spaces, safer streets, apprenticeship and job opportunities and an even better high street. Fifty per cent of the new homes to be delivered will be at a genuinely affordable rent. Around 20% of the existing homes will be retained and retrofitted.
The Custom House resident ballot was a major milestone and a chance for residents to have their say and decide the future of their neighbourhood. Residents voted on the Landlord Offer which contained the Council’s commitments and legal obligations to the community as well as the designs for the new homes and neighbourhood.
A planning application for the early kickstart sites is linked to current GLA funding for affordable homes and has already been submitted. As these sites are vacant, they are not subject to a resident ballot and offer an opportunity for the Council to kickstart regeneration in the area and demonstrate to residents that at long last the Council means to deliver on a co-designed estate masterplan.
In some ways the resident ballot is just the beginning as the next step will be to make sure the community are involved in helping shape the detailed designs for the new homes and neighbourhood, and that residents receive the reassurances they need about how they will be supported during the re-housing process.
NewmanFrancis are the Independent Tenants’ and Residents’ Advisors (ITRA) for the Custom House regeneration. We have been supporting the community with an independent and impartial advice and information service about the regeneration since 2019.
Our role is to support residents throughout the long regeneration process. We work with the community to make sure that they have a say in the regeneration of their area and can get involved at a level that suits them. That could mean talking to our team when we are out and about in the community or attending workshops and drop-ins about the regeneration. Our work includes:
Our role is to ensure Custom House residents are consulted, engaged, and kept involved throughout the regeneration process. We provide independent and impartial advice, as well as working with residents to ensure they are aware of how the regeneration will impact their household.
We helped the community develop the Landlord Offer for Custom House which residents voted on at the end of 2022. The Landlord Offer set out the housing offer to all residents living in and those with the right to return to the Phase One area. We also advised the Council to produce a supplementary set of FAQs so that residents had all the information they needed when deciding how to vote in the resident ballot.
We offer an impartial service and hope that residents feel confident when talking with us and that we help them understand how the regeneration will affect their household. When we talk to residents, we know that regeneration is not popular with everyone, and we understand that regeneration can be controversial. But we also know that many residents, after many years of waiting, want to see change in Custom House.
NewmanFrancis supports the Custom House Steering Group which plays an active role in helping the Council make important decisions about the regeneration. The Steering Group makes sure that residents have a voice in the process and that the community is listened to. The group is chaired by Councillor Sarah Ruiz and has two resident co-chairs, Denise Evans-Barr and Terry Regan. NewmanFrancis’ role is to make sure that members of the Steering Group have the skills and knowledge to play an active role in the regeneration process.
NewmanFrancis supports the Custom House Steering Group in several ways such as: organising and facilitating monthly meetings with the Council, training sessions so that everyone understands the regeneration and what can sometimes seem quite a complex process, plus lots of ongoing support with a wide range of issues, sometimes related to the regeneration but often related to everyday problems faced by the community.
Please contact us if you’d like to find out more about the work of the Custom House Steering Group.
A key part of our involvement is to get out and about as much as possible and talk to the community as part of our regular outreach sessions. We keep residents informed about progress with the regeneration, make sure they know about any upcoming workshops and drop-ins and listen to their concerns and questions. We often take up housing management and repairs issues on behalf of residents. Through our engagement we have been able to flag residents’ housing needs to the council and when possible, get these resolved quickly.
The Regeneration Hub, 25 Freemasons Road
The former post office at 25 Freemasons Road, has been refurbished and is now the Custom House Regeneration Hub, where residents can pop in and talk to NewmanFrancis and the Council about the regeneration of the neighbourhood.
The Council, design team and NewmanFrancis host drop-ins and coffee afternoons for residents to drop by and ask questions regarding the regeneration or deal with any housing management issues.
Currently the Regeneration Hub is staffed 5 days every week, Monday to Friday.
NewmanFrancis host a weekly Coffee Afternoon every Thursday, 2pm – 6pm.
The Regeneration Hub (the former Post Office)
25 Freemasons Road, Custom House, E16 3AR
Minutes from Custom House Steering Group meetings will soon be available here:
FAQs about the Custom House regeneration are available on the Newham Co-create website:Click here to view the FAQs
Please get in touch if you have any questions or need more information about the Custom House regeneration.
NewmanFrancis Custom House Tenants’ and Residents’ Advice Service:
Tel: Freephone 0800 644 6040
Newham Council Custom House Regeneration Team:
Tel: 020 3373 3906
You can report any housing repairs to the Council here
Custom House Regeneration Proposals
You will also be able to find the latest updates about the Custom House regeneration here