Initiative to deliver key worker housing

Details of a vehicle to deliver sites in London for key worker housing were revealed by English Partnerships last week.

Provisionally called the London Wide Initiative, the vehicle is being introduced to speed up the supply of affordable housing in the capital through a public sector-led portfolio approach. If successful, it will be introduced to other parts of England.

The vehicle is supported by the Housing Corporation, the Greater London Authority and the London Development Agency. It will assemble a portfolio of sites in London, including vacant plots identified by local organisations and surplus public sector land.

Up to £100 million has been set aside by English Partnerships to meet portfolio assembly costs. The agency says that it will seek private sector partners to deliver the housing. They will be expected to use the latest building methods, including off-site construction.

English Partnerships hopes that in its pilot stage the initiative will deliver around 2,000 homes, ranging from high-density housing to larger family homes, with some schemes forming the residential element of mixed-use developments.

English Partnerships executive director John Lewis told delegates at the organisation's open meeting that the housing initiative will seek to "challenge the traditional process of site-by-site development".

Lewis explained that by tackling most of the planning issues before a developer comes on board, English Partnerships will shoulder many of the development risks.

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