Sadiq Khan waves through Kingsland Fire Station development with just 8pc affordable housing
PUBLISHED: 18:42 12 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:51 06 July 2017
Sadiq Khan has waved through a huge development on the former Kingsland Fire Station site despite it providing just 8 per cent affordable housing.
The controversial scheme will see a free school and flats built in Kingsland Road.
The mayor had previously slammed the plans after the developers – which include the Education Funding Agency (EFA), a government body – said they couldn’t afford to provide any affordable housing.
His policy states a minimum of 50pc of new housing on all developments should be affordable, but bosses said because they had paid over the odds when buying the site from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) for £16million, they had no money left over for it.
They later came back saying they could offer £1.5million for social, shared ownership, London Living Rent (LLR) or affordable housing – just not on site.
Hackney Council approved the scheme in January and sent it back to City Hall for the mayor’s approval.
But last week he wrote to the town hall saying he was happy to stay out of it.
He said: “Having now considered a report on this case I am content to allow Hackney Council to determine the case itself, subject to any action that the secretary of state may take, and do not therefore wish to direct refusal or to take over the application for my own determination.”
De Beauvoir landowners the Benyon Estate will now go ahead with building the school, which will have 68 flats on top of it and rake in millions of pounds’ profit for them and the EFA.
The project has been criticised by both councillors and MP Meg Hillier in the past, with Cllr James Peters calling it a “commercial development masquerading as a social development”.
Nick Perry, chairman of the Hackney Society planning group, told the Gazette: “A whole bunch of public money held by the EFA to fund schools has been shifted to the LFEPA balance sheet and done less than nil to help the housing crisis in the process.”
But the Benyon Estate defended its role. Edward Benyon said: “One of the biggest challenges we face is putting the right infrastructure in place for future generations and a key priority is helping to educate our young people.”
The Hackney New Primary School was conceived in 2011. It opened in temporary accommodation in September 2015 within Hackney New School in Downham Road. This will be its first permanent base.