Borough housing scheme ranked as 'exemplary'

By Jim Dunton - Fri 9 August 2013, 9:44 am

Barking & Dagenham's groundbreaking homebuilding joint venture with institutional investor Long Harbour and construction firm Laing O'Rourke has been ranked among the most pro-active solutions to the nation's housing crisis by a consortium of property chiefs.

Praised: William Street Quarter

The “Reside” special-purpose vehicle, which will deliver 477 new homes for rent split between the William Street Quarter and the eastern end of Thames View, is one of around one-dozen innovative housing schemes cited by business leaders who argue councils need to do more to enable development.

According to the grouping - which includes BNP Paribas Real Estate, landlord Grainger, law firm DAC Beachcroft, and real-estate specialists Savills and CBRE - councils need to “put their land where their mouths are” and get involved with more joint venture agreements to meet an estimated 300,000 home national shortfall.

Anthony Lee, senior director for development and residential consulting at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said the credit crunch was continuing to stifle housebuilding activity outside of London.

“Finance for schemes is difficult to secure as banks look to rebuild balance sheets,” he said.

“But it is possible to work around that if councils are willing to take on more risk and give up short-term gain for longer term benefit.”

Grainger executive director Nick Jopling said his firm’s 125-year agreement with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea would provide the authority with new homes and a secure rental income over the course of the deal.

“At a time when government subsidies are at an all-time low, leveraging property to support other council services makes perfect sense,” he said.

Savills head of UK residential research Lucian Cook said a more flexible approach to planning and the supply of surplus land would support the development of a build-to-rent model.

“Help to Buy may be grabbing the headlines but this can only be one part of a more holistic approach to meeting the country’s housing shortfall,” he said.

Barking & Dagenham’s joint venture deal is worth £76 million and will see the new properties rented out at 50-80 per cent of market rates over the six-decade course of the deal.

The homes will be managed by the authority’s Reside vehicle, and will eventually revert to council ownership.



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