Planning permission granted for 102 social rent flats
Ealing Council has given the go ahead for a new women’s-only social housing tower block in the borough, close to Acton Town Underground station.
The 15-storey tower will replace the existing 1930s building, Brook House, located on Gunnersbury Lane. The original estate, which also included additional blocks made in the 1970s, is not suitable for refurbishment.
The approved plans will replace the existing buildings and 39 homes on site to create 102 social rent affordable flats for single women, particularly those who face inequality, abuse and disadvantages, especially in the housing market.
The application is supported by Women’s Pioneer Housing (WPH), who are only one of two such specialised housing associations in the country, and L&Q, one of the largest social housing provider in the UK.
The proposed new women’s-only flats, which will be for new tenants as well as existing ones wishing to return, will have dual aspect and a balcony. Works are expected to start on site this summer, with the design also including a range of recreational spaces for residents.
Women’s Pioneer Housing work closely with women’s refuges, homelessness agencies and women’s organisations to provide long-term safe, secure and affordable homes for women.
The organisation says the Brook House project comes amid rising levels of inequality for women in the UK, particularly those who are older, have a disability or are BAME women. Adding there is a huge existing demand for this type of housing; in Ealing alone there are over 600 single women on the social housing waiting list.
The scheme is brought forward with support from L&Q, through their initiative Build London Partnership (BLP), which seeks to find a tailored solution to London’s housing crisis.
Through the BLP, L&Q partners with smaller or specialised housing associations to work in collaboration to develop small, disused, infill and challenging sites across the capital.
WPH says this ‘helps unlock key sites in London and deliver much needed affordable and social housing, often for hard-to-reach communities’.
L&Q are set to invest £1.9 billion over the next seven years to transform its existing homes and neighbourhoods.
The charitable housing association currently house around 250,000 people in more than 105,000 homes, primarily across London and the South East.
The £1.9 billion fund will include a wide range of improvements, including works to maintain Decent Homes standards, major internal and external works, estate improvements, fire safety and energy works to reduce carbon emissions.
This investment will be in addition to spending on routine repairs and servicing, works to enable the reletting of empty homes and overhead costs, and also in addition to investment in Trafford Housing Trust homes.
The seven-year housing investment programme, spanning 2022 to 2029, will run alongside a new corporate strategy which L&Q says includes prioritising “more focus on and investment in the safety of residents and existing homes and services.”
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, L&Q group chief executive, said: “This investment is testament to our stronger focus on existing homes, and commitment to the safety of residents.
“I want every resident to be proud of their home, but we know that there are homes which currently fall short of the quality our residents deserve. This landmark programme will allow us to make substantial improvements to L&Q homes and neighbourhoods across the country.”
Gerri Scott, group director of customer services at L&Q, added: “This programme puts much needed investment into L&Q’s homes and will be driven and overseen by our Residents Services Board. They will advocate on behalf of all residents to ensure that the programme delivers to timescale, is value for money and high quality.
“We’ve already begun informal conversations with potential contractors, so that they’re in no doubt that the success of the programme is dependent on the quality of the resident experience. The contracts we award will be regionally-based and will include SMEs, and we’re keen to see a programme of this scale unlock a legacy of social impact through training, apprenticeships, and community investment. New contracts will be in place from summer 2022.”
Part of the £1.9 billion investment will go towards achieving L&Q’s aim of Energy EPC C status across all homes by 2030.
The programme will also include vital fire safety works – delivered in addition to over £100m already spent on building safety activity since the Grenfell tragedy.
The regeneration of Beam Park has officially begun, with construction work now underway. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site marking the start of construction and the completion of preparatory work.
London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development James Murray was in attendance, along with senior leaders from Countryside and L&Q.
The east London regeneration project will transform the derelict site of a former Ford manufacturing plant into the new 3,000-home Beam Park site, spanning 71.7 acres.
Charitable housing association L&Q and home builder Countryside are working in partnership to bring the project to fruition.
The development is the second-largest housing scheme in the UK to gain planning permission in 2018. It’s also one of only three regeneration schemes in London delivering 3,000 homes and providing 50 per cent of affordable housing (1,513 homes).
The first phase of the development will deliver 640 new homes and new community facilities, including a medical centre and railway station.
The Beam Park station is located on the C2C line, providing direct links into central London. Phase one will also see the delivery of a primary school and park.
Sales of the new homes are due to launch in May this year, with the first properties ready in 2020. The first phase of the development is due to be finished by 2022, with the full Beam Park scheme due for completion in 2030.
The completed site will include a further school along with retail spaces, a gym, nursery, a multi-faith space and two energy centres.
Andy Rowland, managing director for the east region, commented: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the start of construction works on site at Beam Park.
“This project will bring major benefits to east London, including much needed quality new homes with 50 per cent affordable housing, alongside significant infrastructure improvements and community amenities.
“Working with Countryside, we’re proud to be involved in making such an important contribution to London’s housing needs, meeting strong local demand by creating new homes in a wide range of tenures.”
Robert Wilkinson, managing director of partnerships south (east) for Countryside, added: “We have the incredible opportunity to create a thriving new destination in east London, delivering one of London’s largest housing developments, with 3,000 homes, two schools, community facilities, retail spaces, a railway station and much more.
“Beam Park will undoubtedly have a truly transformative impact across the area with community and the wellbeing at the heart of our plans.
“This site has an incredible history, and we’re looking forward to utilising our extensive track record in regeneration with L&Q to bring this next chapter to life ensuring the legacy is captured while embracing modernity.”