First developments by Redbridge Council’s housebuilding company get green light
PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 June 2020
The first developments from Redbridge Council’s own housebuilding company have been given planning permission despite “barely meeting” the requirement for affordable housing.
The two tower blocks planned for Clements Road in Ilford, one 10-storeys and the other 11-storeys, will replace disused council offices with 94 homes.
Of these, 24 homes will be available for London Affordable Rent – or £155.13 for a one-bed flat – while 10 will be community land trust homes, managed by a charity and priced according to average local earnings.
This means that 36 per cent of the development will be affordable housing, slightly higher than the 35pc minimum required by the council’s policy but short of their target of 50pc.
This is the first housing project to be delivered by Redbridge Living Ltd, an independent company set up and owned by the council since late 2018.
Cllr Paul Canal questioned why the development only just met the minimum target when the council owns both the land and the developer.
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He said: “The planning committee in the past has quite rightly taken some developers to task for not having come up with the appropriate level of affordable homes. It does seem to be remiss that we choose that it does not apply to us.”
He added that London Affordable Rent, unlike social rent homes which are set at 60 per cent of the market value, can still be unaffordable for many.
The council’s planning officer Catherine Zhandire said that a financial viability assessment, reviewed by an independent viability assessor, had confirmed that 36pc affordable units was “the maximum that the developer can afford”.
She added that the council “has an obligation to deliver housing for our communities” and that the proposal was considered “on balance, to be acceptable”.
Speaking for the applicant, Oliver Sanderson said: “It’s the view of the applicant that 36 per cent affordable housing is the most viable and provides the most true affordable units.
“Shared ownership would mean higher viability but they won’t remain affordable in perpetuity. These units are tied to local income levels and are going to remain affordable.
“Should the scheme be able to produce some further uplift at a later stage, this will be returned to the council.”
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