Build-to-rent backlash: council to block rental tower

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Build-to-rent backlash: council to block rental tower

Postby Dolphin » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:59 pm

Newhamcouncilplans.jpg
A backlash has begun against London’s build-to-rent developers.

With the capital in the grips of an affordability crisis that means many first-time buyers are unable to get on the ladder, developers are increasingly focusing on building flats to let rather than sell.

However, one London council is opposing plans to build a 17-storey tower with 100 rental apartments by Finebeam Limited, on the grounds that its concentration of small one- and two-bedroom homes will not cater for families and will encourage a relentless turnover of short-term residents.

“The development represents an unacceptable family housing mix which prejudices the ability to stabilise the community,” warns Amanda Reid, head of planning and development at Newham council in east London.

In a damning report on the project, expected to be presented to the council’s strategic development committee next month,she said almost half the homes in the development are either studios or one-bedroom flats, just over a third are two-bedroom flats, and only 19 have three bedrooms.

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In total there are 62,016 build-to-rent homes completed, under construction or planned in the capital. It is forecast that renters will outnumber homeowners by 2025.

Last month Malaysia-owned developer EcoWorld London confirmed £400 million plans to build 1,000 rental flats in Kew and Barking.

Meanwhile, the Grosvenor Estate is to make its first foray into build-to-rent with a scheme at a major development beside the Olympic Park in Stratford.

Sarah Teather, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, lives in the shadow of the proposed West Ham development, and is leading a campaign against it.

“The design looks like greed, an attempt to maximise profits at the cost of all else,” she said. “The development will produce a high density of expensive small flats for transient rented occupation.”

Community group The Friends of Abbey Gardens has also objected to the plan.

“The accommodation offered, as pigeonholes stacked on top of each other, neither gives Londoners quality homes nor mix of land use for community benefit,” said Dagmar French, its treasurer.

As well as its concerns about the social impact of the development, Newham’s planners also believe the design of the new tower is “overbearing, bulky, and incongruous”, will block light to nearby homes, and does not contain enough affordable homes for renters priced out of the local market.

A spokesman for Finebeam Ltd said: “The plans ... will make a substantial and positive contribution to affordable housing in London.

We will deliver 100 high-quality apartments, with 35 per cent of the development provided as affordable. The site sits in a highly accessible and sustainable location, right next to Abbey Road DLR, and so it is uniquely placed to provide more housing.

“All of the residential units will be provided for rent under a single management. Security in the area will be improved through the provision of a concierge, as well as an enhanced public realm offer at the entrance to the DLR station, along Bakers Row. This will significantly improve the experience of the area for the wider community.

“The range of apartments will comprise a mixture of sizes, including one- and two-bedroom properties and also a substantial number of family-sized units, helping contribute to a more balanced community.”

source: Evening Standard
Dolphin
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