St Ann’s keeps the faith for housing in London

A borough mired in a £2bn regeneration row shows how housing can be done – when communities are trusted with development.

StART site visit 160818

With HDV row heating up again, Haringey could do with good news on housing – St Ann’s keeps the faith.

James Murray, the London Deputy Mayor for Housing, is a convert having seen how the St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART) – a community-led housing organisation in the borough – is working in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) to build hundreds of genuinely affordable homes.

StART is a group of Haringey residents and workers who want to see the borough’s St. Ann’s Hospital site fulfil its apparent potential for 800 homes – a project pitched as of “unprecedented” scale that could redefine thinking around housing in London.

Murray, was joined on a tour of the site by Joanne McCartney, London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey, Haringey Council’s Leader Joseph Ejiofor and Cabinet Member for Housing and Deputy Leader Emine Ibrahim.

During the tour of the site, StART outlined how their proposals would build a community on the site, rather than another standard development.

If taken forward effectively, the site could be the UK’s biggest ever community land trust, and a real game changer in how local people interact with housing where they live.

As a community led development local people would be able to influence the design of homes and community with an understanding of what their own needs are.

StART director Tony Wood, said now that the GLA have purchased the site it was “hugely important” for the community to be involved in making the new development reflect its priorities for permanently affordable housing, a health legacy on the site and the best use and maintenance of green space.

“With rents and house prices continuing to go through the roof, people in the borough are feeling the real effects of the London housing crisis and need a change of approach as soon as possible.

For that reason, it’s really positive to see City Hall, Haringey Council and local politicians working with StART, which has made proposals for hundreds of rented homes that will be genuinely affordable for local residents,” Wood said.

Registered as a Community Land Trust operating as a Community Benefit Society in early 2016, StART had its start from a previous campaign opposing the hospital selling off any land coming together with strong local concerns about the lack of decent, secure, affordable housing in the area.

In May this year, City Hall made St Ann’s the first buy for first time the £250m mayoral land fund – investing in a new, more direct and active approach to unlocking land in the capital.

City Hall has subsequently been working closely with StART on development proposals, ensuring the community was involved in shaping the development process at all stages of delivery.

The development design draws on architects’ plans created through consultation with local people and Mayor’s purchase of the site ensures at least 50% of the homes built are genuinely affordable.

StART has been working since 2015 on a community-led proposal for the site, its vision is for nearly twice as many (800) homes as were agreed in an original planning permission (470) as well as a significant increase in genuinely affordable homes, with the previous plans only allowing for 14% affordable housing.

Local opponents of the original planning permission have accepted StART’s design for higher density because of the increased proportion of affordable homes and the community involvement in the process.

As well as working with City Hall to bring the site to the London Development Panel, StART is also seeking to raise funds to increase the amount of genuinely affordable housing on the site beyond 50%.

By tying rents to local incomes, these homes are seen as genuinely affordable to local people.

In 2017, Haringey had 9,194 households on its council waiting list with the average private rent £1,400 and the average house price was 15.93 times the average income.

Before his election in 2016, Sadiq Khan committed to building at least 1000 community land trust homes in his first term.

Pictured: James Murray (second left) on his visit to the St Ann’s site.

 

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