Regen boss warns developers that housing schemes in Old Kent Road without 35% affordable housing face rejection

News Desk (31 August, 2017)

Statement was made after developer Berkeley Homes failed to commit to providing more than 20 per cent affordable homes, in Malt Street proposals for 1,050 flats

18829Artist's impression of Malt Street development


The council has threatened to snub a property developer who hoped to build 1,050 flats, whilst suggesting it will come far short of the council’s affordable housing policy.

Councillor Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said the proposed transformation of industrial land south of Old Kent Road must offer 35 per cent affordable housing, or it “will not be taken to our planning committee for consideration”. Cllr Williams said the zero tolerance policy would apply to the Old Kent Road masterplan, but did not commit to applying it across the whole borough.

The response came after the News asked the council to comment on the planning application, submitted in July, by Berkeley Homes (South East London) Ltd. And it was made in reference to the council’s newly-announced planning policy: that all new developments in Old Kent Road must abide by the council’s 35 per cent affordable housing policy, regardless of developers’ concerns about profitability.

Cllr Mark Williams

If approved, the firm’s development would dominate a site bordered by Bianca Road, Latona Road, Haymerle Road, Frensham Street and Malt Street. It would also require demolition of industrial buildings south of Halfords and B&Q; between the Asda car park and Halfords; and north of Bianca Road.

The application is split into Phase One and Phase Two. Phase One includes: three buildings at 40-storeys, fifteen-storeys, and six storeys tall, to provide 359 flats; 129 car parking spaces and 563 cycle spaces, with shops, community-use and leisure buildings. Phase Two is to build 691 flats, with ground floor space for retail, services, and food-and-drink businesses, as well as leisure facilities and other non-residential uses.

Berkeley’s application said the scheme would deliver “a minimum 20 per cent affordable housing”, based on the firm’s own speculation that providing more would limit its profits. “A viability submission will… demonstrate the reasons why the development, based on today’s costs and values, is unable to support the provision of affordable housing.”

Cllr Williams: “It is vital that the regeneration of the Old Kent Road and the much needed investment into this area delivers benefits for our residents, including genuinely affordable homes for the thousands of families on our waiting list. Our policy is for 35 per cent affordable homes on each new development. If a proposed scheme does not have that level of affordable housing, like the current Berkeley Homes application in Malt Street, then it will not be taken to our planning committee for consideration.”

A Berkeley spokesperson told the News it did not wish to comment.

Ann O'Brien says:

Do you really believe Councillor Williams has the ability or will to insist that the developers provide 35% ‘affordable’ homes? Will this be another repeat of Elephant Park and yet more vanishing ‘affordable’ homes. I notice that he does not talk about social housing. By ‘affordable’ does he mean £450,000 for a starter home, that is beyond the ability of most Southwark residents to ‘afford”

HumairaAli says:

Could it be something to do with local council elections next year? I mean they’ve not met this target in many other places?

Ann O'Brien says:

I hope he’s beginning to worry about holding on to his Brunswick Park seat in 2018. I doubt if many people will be fooled by what he’s doing now, when he’s responsible for the new Southwark Plan and has shown his contempt for Southwark’s voters. Still even if he is voted out, no doubt he will have the opportunity to set up yet another ex-Councillor led ‘consultancy’ to advise property developers on how to get around planning law, if there is any planning law left in Southwark after his reign!

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