London Mayor’s Land Fund used for first time to boost affordable home building

As part of his plan to increase the number of affordable homes in London, the city’s Mayor has used his Land Fund for the first time to buy a development site in a deal worth tens of millions of pounds.

The landmark deal will mean that 50% of the 800 new homes built on the site of a former hospital in Haringey will be affordable housing.

It marks City Hall’s new more direct and active approach to unlocking land in the capital with the Mayor using his £250 million Land Fund to purchase two thirds of the NHS site.

Sadiq Khan said that he intends to use this fund to buy further sites in London to prepare land for new and affordable housing and is urging local authorities across the country to consider following suit.

The money secured from selling land to housing associations, councils and Community Land Trusts will be recycled to buy further land to build homes and unlock further opportunities across the capital.

The number of affordable homes at St Ann’s is a significant increase on existing planning permission for the site, secured originally in 2015, which would have delivered only 470 homes, with just 14% being affordable.

City Hall’s investment will also provide redeveloped NHS facilities on the 11.24-hectare site, including a new mental health inpatient building. Planning permission for the new health facilities have been granted by Haringey Council.

There has been significant community interest in the site and the Mayor is committed to working closely with the local people, including St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART), to deliver affordable homes for the local community. His office has already begun discussions with StART about the future development of the site for homes for local people.

‘I am determined to do everything with the powers and resources at my disposal to tackle the housing crisis head on, and crucially that means building more new and genuinely affordable homes for Londoners,’ said Khan.

‘As Mayor, I’ve set out how City Hall will take a more active and direct approach to unlocking sites across the capital. Late last year I announced my plans for a new Land Fund to buy sites – and at St Ann’s we are showing what this can achieve. Not only will my intervention unlock this site, but it will also allow us nearly to double the number of homes, and crucially increase six fold the number of affordable homes that had previously been given planning permission,’ he pointed out.

‘Despite the Government is still failing to give us the investment and powers we need to make a true step change in home building in London, we are showing what can be done. It is an approach councils and other local authorities across the country may look to adopt to ensure they play a key role in fixing the housing crisis,’ he added.

The move will breathe new life onto this site at St Ann’s, according to Joanne McCartney, London Assembly member for Enfield and Haringey. ‘I am delighted that City Hall’s investment will not only see a new and improved hospital, but will also work with the local community to deliver up to 400 much needed new affordable homes,’ she said.

The development will serve as a new model for building large scale, community led housing, making the best possible use of public land, according to Marlene Barrett, chair of St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust.

‘For years residents in Haringey have been working to realise our vision of a community-led development on the St Ann’s hospital site that delivers genuinely affordable homes for people in the borough, while maintaining the site’s health legacy and important biodiversity and heritage aspects,’ she explained.

‘We hope our community can now realise its vision for the maximum possible number of long term genuinely affordable homes,’ she added.

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