Woodberry Down Estate: New deal gives power to the people and ensures more affordable homes

A birdseye view of the Woodberry Down Estate. Picture: Hackney Council

A birdseye view of the Woodberry Down Estate. Picture: Hackney Council - Credit: Archant

People on the Woodberry Down Estate will have more say on how the flagship regeneration moves forward in a fresh agreement with developers that will also see increased affordable housing.

Woodberry Down Estate. Picture: Hackney Council

Woodberry Down Estate. Picture: Hackney Council - Credit: Archant

Hackney Council's cabinet on Monday approved a deal that will see the Woodberry Down Community Organisation (WDCO) help select architects and other firms involved in homebuilding.

The group - whose elected members represent residents - will be part of a new design committee looking at all areas of the redevelopment, one of the biggest in Europe.

The Principal Development Agreement between the council, developer Berkeley Homes and housing association Notting Hill Genesis also includes a clause stating half of all additional homes will now have to be affordable - social rent or shared ownership.

Since work began in 2009 1,800 homes have been built. When all eight phases are set to be completed, 5,500 new homes will have been built, with a requirement of 41pc affordable.

New transparency terms mean Berkeley, which sells the private homes, has to share data with the town hall about who it has sold to in an effort to ensure it markets homes locally. So far 42 per cent of all private homes have been sold overseas, despite an existing agreement meaning they cannot be marketed outside the UK for nine months after planning permission is granted.

WDCO chair William Sheehy said: "We support any changes that speed up the regeneration and provide additional new social rented homes.

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"We work hard with partners to improve the design of the new homes and welcome the opportunity to participate in selecting the architects."

A council report on the agreement states the 2040 completion date could be revised as the number of homes increases.

A revised planning application for the upcoming third phase will be submitted that increases the number of new builds from 358 to 584 and a year-long review of the "masterplan" will follow, looking at how to create more social rent homes.

Council acting group director for housing Ajman Ali said: "Residents are represented at every level of our partnership, but this updated agreement strengthens the role they play in ensuring that regeneration is done with local people."

The regeneration has also seen the opening of the Woodberry Wetlands to the public for the first time in nearly 200 years, the new Redmond Community Centre, Spring Park and Skinners' Academy, and refurbishment of The Edge youth centre and Woodberry Down Primary School.

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