Almost 500 homes to be built for council tenants under novel PFI scheme
PUBLISHED: 16:14 23 February 2012
Nearly 500 new homes will be allocated to people on council waiting lists under a groundbreaking Private Finance Initiative in Barking.
The £76million project will help tackle the borough’s housing shortage, where 12,800 people are waiting for a council home.
A fifth of tenants will pay council rents and the remainder between 50 and 80 per cent of private market rents.
The three-year project, delivered entirely through private funds, is thought to be the first in the UK.
Barking MP Margaret Hodge has given her backing to the scheme, which will see around 200 homes built at the new artistic hub in Abbey Road – the William Street Quarter – and more than 270 on Thames View Estate in Bastable Avenue.
She said: “We need more new homes, decent homes to rent at levels that can be afforded by ordinary and hard-working families.
“This is just what is being delivered by this project. The 500 new homes are a very welcome addition to the number of affordable homes here in Barking and will help to house residents who have been waiting patiently on the housing register.”
Barking and Dagenham Council said the partnership would secure investment in new homes “in the teeth of an unprecedented economic downturn”.
Housing cabinet member Cllr Phil Waker said: “This is a tremendously exciting and innovative scheme which will deliver much needed new homes.
“It’s cheaper than private renting. It will be an opportunity to get better rents, better quality housing and more secure tenancies.”
Housebuilder Laing O’Rourke will deliver the homes in partnership with an asset management company called Long Harbour.
The 477 houses and flats will fall into council ownership once tenants have paid for them through their rents.
The first properties will be ready in 18 months’ time, the council said.
A Long Harbour spokesman added: “Barking and Dagenham is a fast-evolving borough that is ripe for investment and will benefit from the regeneration of these two sites. This deal is a clear demonstration of the council’s can-do attitude.”