Barking and Dagenham gives thumbs up to developing smaller plots of council owned land
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:23 19 June 2020
Andreas Grieger PHOTOGRAPHER
A plan to develop derelict plots of council-owned land to build homes has been given a green light.
Barking and Dagenham Council cabinet chiefs approved the details at an online meeting on Tuesday, June 16.
The housing innovation programme aims to make the best use of otherwise difficult to develop pieces of local authority land.
The intention is that this will be done in a way that lets the council take advantage of technical innovations and the involvement of the community.
Cllr Cameron Geddes, cabinet member for regeneration and social housing, said: “We have a number of small sites which are relatively tricky to develop, but with some imagination and flair could provide top quality homes for people.
“We’ll be offering the chance to community groups to lead their own housing project, and also to innovative architects or perhaps builders using new construction methods, to deliver new affordable homes.
“We’ll be looking for the best possible value for money, of course, but we’ll also be looking for other social benefits, particularly specialist homes for vulnerable people.”
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The sites will be allocated through a competitive process to small developers, emerging architects or community-led groups to trial new methods of construction, highly sustainable housing or models for community led development.
Community led housing includes self-builds, cooperatives and community land trusts, among others.
The emphasis will be on delivering affordable homes for the locals, but the selection criteria will look at a range of other social benefits too.
Sites in Farmway, Goresbrook Road, Chelmer Crescent, the back of 134 Becontree Avenue and in Keir Hardie Way are among the first to be identified for development.
Where a development is delivered by the council itself, the local authority will keep ownership of the land and fund the development either through its general fund or the housing revenue account.
Where it is proposed that a site is sold off to an outside organisation, the town hall can make use of a GLA process for disposal and contracting.
Selasi Setufe, innovative sites programme manager at Be First, said: “The council has a considerable number of small sites and we want to use these to trial innovative ways of building new homes.
“We want to give an opportunity to smaller organisations who can’t usually get involved in bigger schemes but have expertise in designing excellent homes on small sites by using innovative ideas.”
To find out more about the programme email firstname.lastname@example.org
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