By Luchia Robinson
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has selected Catalyst Housing Limited as his development partner for a major redevelopment of the St Ann’s Hospital site.
Plans for the site involve building 934 homes: 60% London Affordable Rent, 20% London Shared Ownership and 20% London Living Rent.
There will be key worker housing for NHS staff, with the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust able to make use of 22 London Living Rent homes for ten years.
50 of the affordable homes will be allocated for community-led housing, making St Ann’s one of the largest community-led housing schemes in London.
Following his announcement last month, mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m pleased to be partnering with Catalyst to develop this exciting project which
will bring hundreds of genuinely affordable homes to this important site.”
“My team and Catalyst are already working closely with the local community to ensure their needs are put at the heart of our plans for St Ann’s.
I look forward to following the site’s progress and showing what can be done when the public sector takes a clear lead on redevelopment and builds the high-quality homes Londoners deserve.”
The redevelopment scheme includes 10,000m of new and existing tree cover, and a new playground space which will be created. The existing Peace Garden is being tripled in size, and heritage assets, including St Ann’s Victorian water tower will be preserved.
For several years, Haringey residents and workers group StART (St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust), petitioned for the public land not to be sold for private development.
Operating as a Community Land Trust, the group calls for ‘genuinely affordable’ homes (that are managed by the community, and that meet the needs of the community), to be built on the site.
When the Mayor purchased two-thirds (7.1 hectares) of the hospital plot from the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust in March 2018 using his Land Fund, StART pushed for the GLA to install their community housing vision of 100% affordable homes.
This consisted of a mix of 80% general housing and 20% sheltered, supported and communal homes, as well as community spaces and affordable retail units for local businesses and start-ups.
The Mayor’s final proposal of only building 50 affordable, community-led homes on the hospital site, and the inclusion of 25% shared ownership homes has been met with criticism from Green London Assembly Member, Sian Berry, who said: “This announcement is a disappointment – the Mayor said that St Ann’s would be an ‘exemplar’ of community-led housing – but we’ve been left with just 50 homes out of more than 900.
“The community-led plan for St Ann’s, developed by the amazing StART Haringey, originally brought forward plans to make 100% of the homes affordable to the local community.
“However, we have ended up with the merest nod towards community-led housing. I will be watching carefully to make sure no further promises are rolled back by the developers – something we have seen time and time again in London.”
GLA’s decision not to implement StART’s vision, saw the group leave the formal tender process in 2019.
A search for the community organisation to take on the community-led homes on the St Ann’s plot will be launched in the coming months.
StART Director, Tony Wood, said: “The people of Haringey have been calling for a development on St Ann’s that meets the needs of the local community. We hope that having a London-focused Housing Association like Catalyst on board will see the developer work with the local community and respect our wishes and desires for the site.
“StART is keen to see the community’s vision succeed, for a St Ann’s development that is community-led, provides genuinely affordable homes, promotes health and wellbeing, and creates a green neighbourhood. We hope that Catalyst are planning a mixed-tenure development with housing of all sizes that will benefit local people while respecting the environment and protecting the historic Peace Garden on the site.”
StART hopes that a large number of the affordable homes will be social housing and they are looking at ways that the 60% allocation can be expanded.
Catalyst will offer Haringey Council the opportunity of purchasing half of the homes at London Affordable Rent for their housing portfolio.
Councillor Emine Ibrahim, Haringey Council’s cabinet member for housing and estate renewal, said: “One of the council’s top priorities is to address the crippling housing crisis and we always wanted a significant number of council homes at council rent on the site.
“I am pleased the GLA have secured a development partner and we look forward to working with them and the community to ensure the scheme delivers for Haringey and our residents.”
Mr Khan states that local residents will be prioritised for all the homes on the site, and that Catalyst will be working with local people, community groups and other stakeholders to develop their plans.
A dedicated St Ann’s Social Investment Fund, which will be overseen by residents and people living locally, is to be established, and a long-term community space will be made available on the site. Initiatives to help local people get on the housing ladder, such as a deposit match scheme, are also to be provided.
Subject to Secretary of State and planning approval, it is hoped the first homes will be started next year.
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