Building homes in the capital has become tougher, signalled by London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s intervention in a Notting Hill Gate scheme last week when he forced up the affordable housing contribution from 17 per cent to more than a third.
As one property chief tells Homes & Property: “Developers are already paying high land prices in London so if the affordable contribution is too high it can jeopardise the whole building scheme.”
Local councillors, encouraged by this and keen to meet their affordable homes targets, are pushing developers for a much higher number of Section 106 homes, even though it could slow the rate of construction.
However, the Mayor’s plan is not set in stone and council planners realise they have to be flexible.
They know it is easier to build high numbers of affordable units on big schemes than on small ones.
For the developers’ part, in an attempt to win over local people and gain approval for their schemes, they are including greater community improvements.
Providing amenities — such as a new football stadium or an urban farm — not only wins local approval but helps to sell homes to newcomers to the neighbourhood in what can be a tough market.
From £432,500: flats at Fish Island Village in Hackney Wick. Call 020 3906 1950
“Sometimes there’s a trade-off between delivering community facilities and the affordable housing that London urgently needs but there are limits to how much infrastructure can be loaded on to a single site,” says Richard Brown, director at think tank Centre for London.
“On the other hand, if the community facilities create places with social vitality and strong community engagement it creates better places, helps to get local residents on board and delivers more value over the long term.”
Regenerating London and building homes for a growing population is clearly a complicated equation but across the city, many schemes have already been approved that integrate a percentage of affordable homes and exciting new facilities, while creating jobs and giving pleasure to the community.
SPACE FOR LOCAL ARTISANS
The vast canalside Fish Island Village scheme at Hackney Wick, by builder Hill and housing association Peabody, will create 580 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, a gym and underground parking when it fully completes in 2020.
As well as 146 affordable units, social enterprise The Trampery is building a 50,000sq ft campus on site, providing discounted co-working spaces for local creatives. A quarter will be allocated to under-represented communities.
This is the fourth Trampery site but the first to form part of a residential scheme. The Trampery Republic block in East India Dock was built to house those creatives and artisans priced out of co-working space in Shoreditch.
A tired Nineties structure was refurbished using timber and planting to keep costs low, while murals by young artists were a cheap and quick way to cover the walls.
Entrepreneurial spirit: The Trampery Republic in East India Docks, E14
In the run-up to its launch in 2016 a year’s free desk space was advertised for a lucky few, one of four such sites offering workspace to creatives priced out of more expensive areas of London. Perfumer Nick Steward was one of the winners.
The founder of Gallivant perfumes was working from home and couldn’t afford east London commercial rates.
“I have two desks and a large, shelved storage cupboard for my bottles, samples and boxes, at half the price of one desk in Shoreditch which is the preserve of well-invested tech start-ups,” says Steward, 40.
“I found working from home really isolating. I’m now surrounded by a real mix of down-to-earth people, all grappling with the early stages of running small businesses.”
His rent in year two at The Trampery Republic is at a much-reduced rate, too. Gallivant perfumes now sells seven fragrances in 11 countries and is stocked by Fortnum & Mason.
Benefitting: Gallivant fragrances boss Nick Steward is among small businesses enjoying affordable workspace (Daniel Lynch)
SAVING HISTORIC BUILDINGS
Chinese developers are ploughing £30 million into the restoration and conversion of Hornsey Town Hall in the heart of Crouch End.
Built in 1935, the Grade II-listed former council HQ is being transformed by Make architects into 135 studio-, one-, two- and three-bedroom flats with community space and a new arts centre.
In addition, £1 million is being spent on the town square, where the fountain and period street lighting will be restored.
“Bringing historic buildings back into public use provides a link to the past and gives a sense of community,” says Savills’ David Whittington.
Prices start from £499,950 for a one-bedroom apartment and £634,950 for a two-bedroom apartment.
A SPORTING LEGACY
League One football club AFC Wimbledon was born in 2002 when the original club, Wimbledon FC, was in financial difficulty and moved to Milton Keynes, morphing into MK Dons.
Now AFC Wimbledon is moving out of its shared ground in Kingston and back to its Merton heartland.
Stadia Three: 604 new homes and a new 10,000-seat stadium are pleasing locals
Galliard Homes is converting the old Wimbledon Greyhound track into Stadia Three, a new 10,000-seat stadium with 604 homes in a move that has cheered both the club’s fanbase and the local community.
A collection of 114 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats, arranged over seven floors, is now on sale off-plan from £440,000. Residents will also be able to use a hospitality suite in the stadium, a squash club and gym.
A NEW HOME FOR DANCE
Developer Avanton has launched Coda Residences in York Road, Battersea, a mixed-use scheme of 130 studios to three-bedroom flats with a communal music room.
This modern interpretation of a period mansion block has floor-to-ceiling windows and on the ground floor, a new global HQ is being created for the Royal Academy of Dance.
There will also be a café, a library and ballet and Pilates classes for residents. Prices for studios start from £495,000.
ECOLOGY AND EDUCATION
The disused loam and gravel quarry in Erith, Bexley, was filled in with rubbish and rubble. Last spring, as part of the new eco-development by L&Q and the Anderson Group, it was opened as a new public nature reserve.
Local schoolchildren have planted 60 trees and three lakes have been created. Bat and bird boxes have been installed and the slow worm and common lizard have reinstated themselves.
As well as 600 new homes the site boasts a new primary school and an education centre.
The Quarry: the site boasts 600 new homes, a new primary school and an education centre
“The site’s value was deteriorating every year, to the point where it would soon have been of almost no value to anything other than blackbirds or robins, which will breed in the brambles,” says ecologist Stuart Pankhurst.
“Remediating it and retaining areas of interest, such as providing green corridors around the edge, will provide a truly long-term benefit.”
On the bustling, urban Southbank is another education centre focused on animals.
On what was a disused NHS site owned by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust, architect Feilden Fowles has installed the final building — a lofty, timber-framed barn — of Waterloo City Farm.
Education: at Waterloo City Farm, Southbank, insulated learning space is provided for 30 children in a timber-framed barn on a former NHS site as a resource for local schools
The farm has an insulated classroom for 30 children and was designed to be an inspiring place to learn for disadvantaged local kids.
“It is open to the public and is a learning resource for local schools. This kind of ‘meanwhile’ use is so popular locals are campaigning for it to live on after its five-year lease is up,” says Rory Olcayto, chief executive of the architectural organisation Open-City.