GLA flags concerns over 'unacceptable' loss of social homes as part of north London estate regeneration

Proposals in a planning application for the redevelopment of a north London housing estate which would see the net loss of 518 social homes are 'wholly unacceptable', a Greater London Authority consultation response has said.

Grahame Park: GLA says that regeneration proposals could include more social housing (pic: w_faich via Flickr)
Grahame Park: GLA says that regeneration proposals could include more social housing (pic: w_faich via Flickr)

In April, developers Choices for Grahame Park/Genesis Housing Association submitted an outline planning application for the second phase of the redevelopment if the Grahame Park estate in Colindale in the London Borough of Barnet.

The application would see the demolition of 630 homes (557 socially rented and 73 private) and their replacement with 1,083 new homes of which 652 would be classed as "affordable" with the rest (431) for private sale.

The 652-unit affordable housing element would include 39 socially rented homes, 153 London affordable rent, 166 London living rent and 294 shared ownership.

The changes to housing tenure would see a net loss of 518 socially rented homes.

A housing statement submitted with the planning application said that the redevelopment gave the opportunity to "diversify the housing offer locally to ensure mixed and sustainable communities given the concentration of existing social rented accommodation in Colindale".

It said that the application "maximises the amount of new homes, particularly affordable housing, delivering a broad mix of unit sizes including family housing (31 per cent of affordable homes) and maintains in excess of 50 per cent affordable housing across the masterplan area. The quantum of new homes and affordable housing represent a significant benefit to the Borough and London housing targets providing range of tenures, affordability and types".

Under standard planning rules around the handling of major applications in the capital, the application was referred to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for consideration.

A GLA response to the application, published earlier this month, said that the loss of social rented units arising from the proposals would be "wholly unacceptable".

"The proposals would involve a significant loss of social rented units within this phase, and the wider programme is likely to deliver a very significant loss of social housing unless the current application is amended to address this", the document said.

The response added that GLA officers had carried out a viability assessment on the proposals and this had demonstrated that "more social rented units could be provided".

The document said that GLA officers will work with the applicant and the council to ensure that the application "accords fully" with the mayor’s estate regeneration guidance, affordable housing and viability supplementary planning guidance, and policies in the London Plan.

Councillor Daniel Thomas, deputy leader of Barnet Council, said: "We have received a letter from the Greater London Authority’s planning team, which raises a number of points.

"We have been working with Genesis and the GLA to resolve these and to correct a number of misperceptions in the letter. The regeneration of the Grahame Park estate overall will deliver 50 per cent affordable housing, which will comprise a mix of social rented homes and shared ownership properties.

"We anticipate the application for the scheme will be considered by the council’s planning committee later in the year."

*This article was updated at 16:25 on 27/09/17 to include the above comment from Barnet Council.* 

Next week's Planning for Housing conference will include a session on how London’s mayor intends to use his new supplementary planning guidance to simplify negotiations over affordable housing provision. For more information and to book your place click here. 

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