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New Era Estate landlords reveal details of plans to flatten and rebuild homes

PUBLISHED: 09:43 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21 12 December 2018

New Era Estate in Whitmore Road, Hoxton

New Era Estate in Whitmore Road, Hoxton

Archant

Details of the major redevelopment of Hoxton's New Era Estate have been revealed almost a year after it was first announced.

Protesters demonstrate towards Downing Street against the house price rising in the New Era estate against the house price rising in the New Era Estate in 2014.Protesters demonstrate towards Downing Street against the house price rising in the New Era estate against the house price rising in the New Era Estate in 2014.

Charity Dolphin Living, which stepped in to buy the estate from American investors in 2014 after huge protests about rent hikes, said in January it had “no choice” but to flatten it because of its poor condition.

At the time, no details were given on the number of new homes or how many of them would be affordable or set at social rent.

The current tenants have a means-tested rent and across Dolphin’s entire 629 homes the average bill is 53pc of market rent.

CEO Olivia Harris did tell the Gazette in January the charity would provide as many “genuinely affordable” homes as possible.

But earlier this month a pre-application meeting took place at the town hall, in which it was revealed the estate will have 226 new homes – with half set at “intermediate affordable”.

What that actually means, in this case, is that 10pc of all homes will be set at the means-tested London Living Rent, 25pc will be set at 65pc of market rent and 15pc will be set at 80pc of market rent.

Although it meets the council’s policy that half of new-builds should be affordable, it falls short on the type of affordable required. Hackney says 60pc should be at social rent and 40pc intermediate.

A financial viability assessment (FVA) shows even the proposed level of affordability is “significantly unviable” – but is being pursued because Dolphin is an affordable housing charity.

Ahead of a formal planning application in the spring, Hackney planners are now looking at how to increase the number of adequate affordable housing, even if it means taking the overall percentage below 50.

Plans also include 440 sq m of shops to replace the existing units. Buildings will range from three- to 14-storeys high. The tallest will be at the junction of Whitmore Road and Phillip Street.

The work was backed by 69 of the 82 families over the alternative – years of piecemeal repairs. They will be moved to Haggerston while work is done, and have been promised homes on the new estate.

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