Proposed Development of Fulham Site
Fulham Development – Case for Change
Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions is in a very tired condition and requires significant investment to address a wide range of maintenance issues affecting the individual flats and communal areas. Half of the flats were built over a century ago when expectations and standards were unrecognisably different. Approximately one third of our flats have at least one major component (such as kitchen, bathroom or windows) that has exceeded its expected life cycle and needs replacement. This is in part because of the age of the infrastructure but also because of sustained under investment due to the weak financial position of the Charity. Stoll simply cannot afford the multi-million pounds investment necessary to ensure that its Fulham site is maintained at the Government’s decent homes standard. This standard is currently under review by the Government, and it seems likely that any changes made to it will raise the bar for future regulatory compliance. The overall thermal efficiency and insulation of properties in Fulham is often very poor and many tenants complain of their homes being cold and say they are unable to afford their heating bills. Some 60% of our Fulham flats currently have an EPC rating of D or E, yet we are required to attain a C rating by 2035. In addition, the Government’s commitment to delivering a zero-carbon economy will have far-reaching implications for Stoll. Meeting these various expectations and requirements is unrealistic given the finances of the Charity.
In sum, Stoll is neither delivering the quality of housing nor the support that it wishes to deliver or that our residents expect, and the position is set to worsen. There is also clear evidence of low and declining demand for our Fulham flats, and of a higher number of Veterans in need elsewhere nationally.
The Fulham site forms of course just one part of the overall Stoll estate, albeit the largest, oldest and most emblematic. Moreover, Stoll does not operate in a vacuum, working routinely with Armed Forces and other charities as well as the public sector. The strategic outlook for Veterans’ housing, as foreseen for example by ‘Lifting Our Sights’ and the ‘Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan’, points towards more transitionary need and greater collaboration between organizations, as well as the enduring need for support. Thus, in redeveloping its Fulham site, Stoll is learning from its recent past as well as from evidence based research, and remaining true to its founding principles, yet positioning itself to thrive sustainably in the years ahead whilst also delivering improved housing outcomes across the Veterans’ community.
Stoll is therefore consulting residents on a proposal to provide at least fifty new and refurbished flats (better suited to needs and of improved quality) and support facilities for Veterans on the Fulham site, funded by disposal of the remainder of the site. It is anticipated that the head office function would move from Fulham but that the listed frontage will remain. To enable the Charity to continue to support its current and future residents, there is a strong financial imperative for the Charity to achieve the maximum value from disposal while providing high-quality housing for Veterans in 21st Century in the heart of London. Stoll also intends to increase its support for Veterans through its outreach services and is determined to explore and, wherever it can, to provide new housing opportunities where there is a greatest need. Stoll commits to further engagement with its residents and to continuing to support them through this envisaged transition.
 In 2019 it was estimated that there was then a backlog of maintenance equating to approximately £2m and that there would be a need for an additional £0.5m annual investment in maintenance thereafter to maintain the current housing stock in a satisfactory condition. This level of funding has not been possible.
 The Map of Need: Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust
 Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan 2022-2024 (publishing.service.gov.uk)
For more information see documents below: