Ealing’s tallest tower ‘will answer London’s affordable housing crisis’

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Planning has been submitted for a 100% affordable residential tower in Ealing, which developers say will “answer mayor’s housing crisis vision”

The Mayor of London has been challenged to open a new era in housebuilding as Ealing’s first 100% affordable residential tower is turned in for planning approval.

Developer Southern Grove says ‘55 West’ is a model of how developers should be meeting Sadiq Khan’s ‘Homes for Londoners’ vision for the creation of new homes in the capital.

Southern Grove chairman Andrew Southern says it is “decision time” for planners who face a choice between continuing to pay “lip service” to housing need and actually delivering affordable housing for Londoners in the right places.

Ealing’s first fully-affordable residential tower has been made possible because of an extended negotiation with landowners and the use of an innovative combination of contracts that means Southern Grove will never actually own the land outright.

Andrew Southern believes 100% fully affordable residential towers will be the future of London’s housing solution around key transport nodes in the future but it will require a renewed appetite for well-designed high rises.

55 West will open up 149 prime apartments to residents paying either the London Living Rent (approximately 60% of market rates) or using London Shared Ownership.

The application is expected to go to the planning committee for a decision by the end of November 2019.

Andrew Southern, chairman of developer Southern Grove, said: “We have chosen to begin looking at sites not just from a policy-compliant view but with the belief that, given the scale of the problem, provision of affordable homes in design-led properties should be an aspiration rather than a chore.

“So it’s decision time for London. Are we serious about meeting housing need and creating genuinely desirable, affordable homes, or is it just something politicians are going to continue paying lip service to?

“In a city like London, everyone must accept that building higher is the only way to generate the numbers of homes required. So if we’ve got to do it, let’s do it well.

“Planners should be looking at a much more long term horizon, embracing excellent design and discovering a renewed appetite for buildings that inspire rather than blot the landscape.

“The Mayor has spelled out that the housing emergency in London means that it is essential that good quality, affordable housing is built in high densities on top of London’s major transport nodes.

“This development answers that call, and should be the first of many. Affordability is still a huge problem in London, but the fact these apartments are all affordable is a huge win for key workers and households on low incomes.

“The costs and risks associated with structuring deals in these new and innovative ways to increase the share of affordable housing, is what differentiates us from the big housebuilders who are land banking and stemming the tide of home creation to maximise profit.

“Planners need to meet those developers who innovate to create the greatest proportion of affordable homes halfway.”

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