Town Hall steps in to save redevelopment of former Dagenham Job Centre
PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 May 2020
The council has stepped in to make sure the development of a former job centre site can continue even though it is not expected “to swell its coffers”.
Town hall cabinet members approved plans to purchase the development of the old job centre in Chequers Lane, Dagenham which has an estimated price tag of £25.7million at a meeting on Tuesday, May 19.
It comes after Hollybrook Limited told the council it would be unlikely to develop the half-acre site. Planning chiefs had granted permission to build a nine storey block of 90 one and two-bed flats in Januray.
Cllr Cameron Geddes said: “This is not going to make the council, and thus the community, a lot of money, but it is a key regeneration site.”
He added that redeveloping the former job centre could help boost the regeneration of nearby sites and help get people off the housing waiting list.
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The council wants all the homes to be offered at below market prices with 62 at up to 80 per cent of full market rent and 28 at London affordable rent (LAR).
“The hope is to get the whole south Dagenham area moving and moving in the right direction with jobs and decent quality properties,” Cllr Geddes said.
The site is close to Dagenham Dock station, the former Ford stamping plant and Chequers Corner where the council hopes the development will increase customer numbers.
Cllr Twomey said: “[The development] is not going to swell the coffers significantly, but sometimes you need to make a decision based upon community as opposed to money.
“It’s rare if not impossible for both things to run in synergy, but this is one of those cases where the regeneration aspect of this scheme is going to develop over the coming years in that part of Dagenham.”
The council approved borrowing almost £18m from its general fund pot to pay for the development, allocate £5.29m from right to buy receipts to fund construction and to use £2.8m to back the LAR tenure subject to a successful City Hall bid.
Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “People say it’s not traditional council housing, but it’s all sub-market which means we know it’s affordable to tens of thousands of residents in this borough who are already paying market rents which is not conducive to their wellbeing.”
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