• 330 new affordable homes for first-time buyers in Waltham Forest

  • Mayor to set out greater role for City Hall in bringing forward land for homes

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced a former Walthamstow industrial site purchased last year has been released for development with 100 per cent affordable homes for first-time buyers.

In one of his first actions as Mayor, Sadiq instructed the GLA to buy the former Webbs Industrial Estate – a plot of land that had stood derelict for seven years – 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 bids – 13 – 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 £3.15bn 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, Sadiq purchased the site 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 three per cent, but now a sale has been agreed with Catalyst and the derelict buildings will make way for new homes which will all be affordable, creative workspace, artist studios and retail space with work to clear the site starting later this year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “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.

“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 – my new planning rules will help raise affordable housing levels in new developments, and my £3.15bn funding deal with Government will help to build an extra 90,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.

“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 – working closely with housing associations like Catalyst to deliver a scheme that is 100 per cent affordable for Londoners struggling to buy a home.”

Cllr Clare Coghill, the Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “We are really pleased that the first site of 100 per cent affordable London housing, will be found in Waltham Forest, regenerating an old disused factory. We fully support the Mayor’s affordable homes ambition and we are committed to making sure our residents have access to these homes.

“This is a great step forward to helping meet this need. At the same time, we want to grow the local economy and create jobs and opportunity, so the additional creative hub provides much needed space for businesses, artists and residents. It is a win-win situation for all.”

Tom Titherington, Executive Director of Property and Growth, Catalyst, said: “Catalyst’s financial strength and development record, coupled with Swan’s local market knowledge and construction management expertise offers a comprehensive approach to place-making, design and delivery.

“Our shared urban development experience on mixed use sites, has informed the design of the scheme which centres on an ambition to create a new and bold development in Waltham Forest, with a strong sense of character. As a long standing partner of the Mayor of London, we are committed to working in partnership with the GLA. The benefit of selecting two housing associations is that any profit is reinvested in developing more affordable housing.”

Source: Mayor of London Press Office

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