A pioneering City Hall land purchase will see 400 affordable homes delivered in Haringey with the acquisition of the St Ann’s Hospital site. The project will see Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, work closely with local community group St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART) to deliver up to 800 new properties in Haringey, half of which will be genuinely affordable.
The St Ann’s Hospital site is the first to be purchased using the Mayor’s £250-million land fund, signalling the start of City Hall’s innovative new approach to freeing up land in London.
The partnership with StART is also the first time that a London Mayor has worked closely with a community-led organisation to aid them with local housing delivery.
Khan will take an active role in assisting StART, ensuring that the local Haringey community is involved in every aspect of the development and identifying opportunities for the community to own or manage some of the homes. Khan will also help ensure that the neighbourhood benefits from, and is protected by, the scheme.
Designs for the development still need to be finalised, but will draw on architectural plans created following consultations with Haringey residents. StART has been working on a community-led proposal for the site since 2015 and its vision will also influence the development process.
StART’s vision is for 800 new homes, almost twice as many as was agreed in the site’s original planning permission. StART also wants to significantly increase the number of genuinely affordable homes on site, with the previous plans only allocating 14% to affordable housing.
Local opposition to the original planning permission have supported StART’s designs for higher density housing, thanks to the increased proportion of affordable properties and the community’s involvement in the development.
As well as working with City Hall to bring the site to the London Development Panel, StART is hoping to raise finances to increase the amount of affordable homes on the site, tying rents to local incomes and thus delivering homes that are genuinely affordable to local people.
StART has received practical support for the scheme from the Community Land Trust Network and Bright Ideas, as well as financial backing from numerous local and national contributors, including the Oak Foundation and the Sheila McKecknie foundation.
Marlene Barrett from StART commented on the news: “Residents in Haringey were appalled when the site was given planning permission for only 14% affordable homes. We welcome the Mayor’s decision to purchase the site and work with us.
“We hope our community can now realise its vision for a community-led development that delivers genuinely affordable homes for people in this area, as well as maintaining the site’s health legacy and green public space. With the potential to build up to 800 homes, the scale of this project is unprecedented and could redefine the way we think about housing in London.”
Set up in 2015, StART is comprised of Haringey residents and workers who joined forced to ensure local land was used for the good of the whole community, putting local people in control of delivering genuinely affordable home to their own neighbourhood.
Words: Jen Grimble Images: startharingey.co.uk
While not Custom Build as such, what’s interesting about StART is that it’s an example of community engagement putting people back into the planning process. Whether the homes include customisable elements or will contain space for cohousing or Community Land Trust communities is yet to be seen, but this is people standing up to have their say in what their community looks like. It’s great to see the Mayor’s office so attuned to this groundswell.