Duke of Westminster’s £500m scheme for Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory set to be approved despite ‘affordable’ housing concern

Josh Salisbury (17 February, 2020) Housing

Southwark originally threw out the application over a lack of affordable homes, despite being owned by the Duke of Westminster

32337CGI image of the proposed development on the site of the former Peek Freans Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey

A £500m scheme for Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory owned by the Duke of Westminster is set to be approved on Friday, despite concerns raised over a lack of affordable housing.

The rent-only scheme was thrown-out by Southwark councillors a year ago after the developer Grosvenor refused to supply 35 per cent of affordable homes in line with council policy.

The lack of affordable housing was in spite of Grosvenor being owned by the Duke of Westminster, the world’s richest person under 30. Councillors were told that couples would need to earn £30,000 each to rent one of the ‘affordable’ properties.

In May, Sadiq Khan overruled the refusal, saying the plans have “potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply,” and said he would consider the application himself.

Grosvenor then pledged 35 per cent of the 1,548 homes would be ‘affordable’, despite previously insisting the scheme couldn’t support that many.

The £500m proposed development on the site of the former Peek Frean’s biscuit factory will be considered on Friday

Now City Hall has recommended that the scheme, which would see 1,548 homes, a 600-place secondary school and office and retail space, be accepted at a hearing on Friday (February 21).

“The proposed masterplan-led approach to the comprehensive redevelopment of the former Biscuit Factory site and Bermondsey Campus is strongly supported in principle,” state GLA officers in their recommendation.

“The proposal would make a significant contribution towards the Borough’s housing and affordable housing delivery targets and would provide appropriate levels of complementary employment, retail and community uses.”

Officers also recommended that Grosvenor meet a number of conditions before approval, including £740,000 for bus and bike improvements, and “local employment obligations” during construction.

The 5.4 hectare development will be considered by Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe on behalf of Sadiq Khan at a public hearing at 9.30am on Friday in The Chamber at City Hall.

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