Mayor Sadiq Khan has approved the Barking Riverside masterplan, having negotiated a higher affordable housing outcome than the project had originally offered.
The scheme will now deliver 35% affordable homes as a minimum, against a 28% contribution proposed originally, under former mayor Boris Johnson. But a viability test will be used to calculate excess profits, with a ratchet mechanism to take the affordable homes element up to 50%, should finances allow.
“Barking Riverside has enormous potential to deliver thousands of the much-needed homes Londoners so urgently need,” said Khan, announcing the modifications, and the consent. “I’ve made it clear that tackling London’s housing crisis is my number-one priority. Fixing this problem will be a marathon, not a sprint, but developments like this one will play a huge part in our efforts to provide genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent.”
“Our next task is to ensure this development includes the facilities and infrastructure which will make this a fantastic place to live and to visit, rather than simply a housing development.”
The project is a joint venture between the GLA and housing association L&Q, which will see a new community built on land that formerly housed power stations and a landfill site. Up to 10,000 homes in total are promised when the development is completed.
Local authority Barking and Dagenham Council is also pleased to see the project progress. Council leader Darren Rodwell said: “We welcome the mayor’s approval for Barking Riverside masterplan. This is a key part of the regeneration jigsaw, not just for Barking and Dagenham but for London as a whole. It will undoubtedly make an enormous contribution to solving part of the capital’s housing crisis and we are determined to create an attractive and prosperous new community there.”
“This borough has a very exciting and ambitious growth programme, which includes the delivery of over 45,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs over the next ten years. We are committed to ensuring that no-one is left behind. These homes should serve local residents too and therefore providing affordable housing is key.”
A first stage has seen 734 homes built already, while a further 414 are under construction. An October inquiry hearing should see Transport for London’s plans to extend the Overground and create a new rail station receive approval; funding for this extension to the Barking to Gospel Oak line has already been secured.
Chief executive of London & Quadrant (L&Q), David Montague, said: “As Barking Riverside is one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration schemes in Europe, L&Q is committed to delivering homes, across a range of incomes, that are genuinely affordable for everyone. The revised masterplan approval helps us achieve this goal.”
“The potential of Barking Riverside is enormous and for L&Q it is a significant step forward in delivering on its promise to build 100,000 homes over the next decade. We are delighted to be at the forefront of making this exciting vision a reality.”
L&Q bought out partner Bellway earlier this year, and has promised it will improve the pace of build-out at Barking Riverside to 600 homes a year.
LPA Perspective: Again, mayor Khan and his new housing deputy appear to have extracted a better deal on affordable housing, than the original proposals delivered. And what appears to be a pragmatic test of profits from the scheme will be used to extract further stages of affordable homes. If it can be demonstrated to work effectively here, other schemes could also be subject to overage deals.
However, L&Q looks to be playing the same games as other, purely commercial developers, when it comes to maximising profits from sites. Elsewhere, in Whitechapel, the organisation’s
Whitechapel Central development, which takes a former self store depot and infills the block with flats has recently won approval. Tower Hamlets planners conceded that some units in the tall, dense scheme would have less than great outlooks, but the developer successfully argued it could only afford 26% affordable housing out of the project.