William Street Quarter starts to take shape

Tue 18 December 2012, 4:20 pm

The construction of 201 new homes at Barking town centre's William Street Quarter is now well under way.

William Street Quarter: artist's impression of final development

The project, on the 2.5ha site of the former Lintons Estate, will provide around half of the affordable rent properties for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s  Reside scheme.

Funded through a partnership with Long Harbour, and Laing O’Rourke’s investment arm Explore Investments, the scheme is the first totally privately funded affordable social housing scheme in the UK.

Around three-quarters of the homes will be rented out at 80 per cent of market rent, with a few at 65 per cent, all targeted at local people in employment. The remaining homes will be let at 50 per cent of market rates, and be allocated in the same way as council housing.

Under the scheme, the council's Reside company will manage and allocate the properties, which will revert to its ownership after 60 years.

At a turf-cutting ceremony last month, Barking and Dagenham’s housing lead councillor Phil Walker said the development was evidence that the borough was tackling the capital’s lack of affordable homes head-on.

“There’s been a lot in the news recently about the housing crisis,” he said. “Here in Barking and Dagenham we recognise the importance of increasing the supply of housing that people can actually afford to rent.”

Regeneration lead councillor Cameron Geddes said the development was an excellent use for a prime site and would have knock-on benefits for the rest of the borough. “The new homes will give hundreds of people an excellent place to live, and they’ll also free up other homes elsewhere in the borough,” he said.

Andy Griffiths, Laing O’Rourke’s project leader for the development, said a great deal of planning had gone into the scheme.

“It’s great to be working in partnership with the local borough to deliver affordable housing and continue the regeneration of Barking town centre,” he said. “We worked hard along with Explore Investments to secure this project and we hope the innovative funding solution can become a model for the future to fund much needed affordable housing elsewhere in the UK.”

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