A plot of land in London that has stood derelict for seven years will become the city’ first all affordable housing development with homes for first time buyers.
The Webbs Industrial estate in Walthamstow will have 100% affordable homes after the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan instructed the Greater London Authority to buy the site with the intention of finding a development partner to build more new and genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.
The site attracted a City Hall record number of 13 bids with Catalyst housing association selected as preferred bidders. Catalyst will work in conjunction with partners including Swan Housing Association and architects C.F. Møller Architects.
The deal comes ahead of the Mayor setting out his plans for City Hall taking a greater role intervening in land decisions across the capital. More detail about the Mayor’s plans will be in his London Housing Strategy, due to be published in draft for consultation next month.
The Webbs Industrial Estate site, which was a former glass lampshade and bulb factory, will now be transformed with 330 homes, all of which will be affordable and available as shared ownership, along with a creative hub providing more than 3,000 square metres of new affordable workspace and artist studios, a park area to serve both existing and new residents, and retail space in the heart of the Blackhorse Road area.
Shared ownership is one of the Mayor’s favoured housing tenures in his £3.15 billion Affordable Homes Programme, alongside London Living Rent and London Affordable Rent. Shared ownership homes allow a home buyer to purchase a share in a new home, and pay a regulated rent on the remaining, unsold share.
It is the first time any Mayor has bought and then sold land completed in just over a year with the additional profit being reinvested into more genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.
Working closely with Waltham Forest, the site was bought in July last year after plans to build a free school on the site fell through. Previous developers of the site had an outline planning consent with an affordable percentage of homes as low as 3% but now a sale has been agreed with Catalyst and the derelict buildings will make way for new homes.
‘For too long there was a severe lack of genuinely affordable homes being built in London, which fuelled the housing crisis and is robbing many Londoners of their dream of buying their own home,’ said Khan.
‘I’m doing all I can to help fix London’s housing crisis, but it will take time to turn things round. I’ve been honest from the start, this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. But we’re already taking big steps forward,’ he explained.
‘My new planning rules will help raise affordable housing levels in new developments, and my £3.15 billion funding deal with Government will help to build an extra 90,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy,’ he pointed out.
‘I’m working hard to identify more brownfield sites across London that we can use to build the thousands of genuinely affordable homes London so desperately needs. This site in Walthamstow shows the benefit of City Hall taking a greater role unlocking and bringing forward land for development and working closely with housing associations like Catalyst to deliver a scheme that is 100 per cent affordable for Londoners struggling to buy a home,’ he added.
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