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Agenda item

Sale of Land at Kerswell Close N15 5HT

[Report of the Director for Planning, Regeneration and Development. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for  Corporate Resources.]

The report requests approval to sell land adjacent to Kerswell Close to Pocket Living.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources introduced the report which sought approval to provide a long lease to Pocket Living of land opposite Kerswell Close, in order to develop 36 housing units subject to planning permission being obtained. The land at Kerswell Close was currently a grassed communal area and car parking area with a retail unit located on it and adjacent to St. Ann’s Road and was currently HRA land. The land offers the opportunity to provide a new development of affordable housing in the Borough. There was strong demand for intermediate housing in the area and this site provides an opportunity for 36 affordable home ownership units to be built subject to approval of the planning scheme.

 

In response to Cllr Engert’s question, the planning application decision would take account of priorities for provision of green spaces.

 

In response to Councillor Tucker’s request for Cabinet to postpone the decision:

 

  • The Leader responded that it was important to take account of London as a rapidly growing city with an increasing population and understanding the  difficulties in being able to provide housing when conditions were stacked against the Councils. This would mean re- considering the density of housing in the whole of London and not just in Haringey. The Council were striving continually for affordable housing to meet the scale of housing demand and considering sites that had not been used for housing before.

 

  • Also in terms of the quality and space provided by Pocket homes, the Leader advised visiting the Pocket Living website to gain an understanding on quality of the homes that they have provided in boroughs such as Camden and Lambeth.

 

Councillor Strickland continued to respond to the issues raised on planning, consultation with the local community and affordability of housing. 

 

  • In relation to the concerns about the protection of green space and the potential impact of the proposed building on the look and feel of the area, these would be part of Planning’s committee’s consideration. Once plans for the site were submitted to planning, by Pocket Living, there would be full public consultation instigated allowing these issues/ concerns to come forward prior to consideration of this application at Planning committee.

 

  • In relation to concerns about the realistic affordability of these homes and the expected income levels of people that would be able to afford these homes, the Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Planning referred to the evidence base of the recently agreed intermediate housing strategy which pointed to a demand for this type of housing. Also the  Housing strategy  approved by Cabinet in October and proceeding  to full Council  on the 21  November , includes an increase in  intermediate housing.  Therefore the  Council policy was clear on this.

 

  • Councillor Strickland outlined that shared ownership had a valuable role in the borough and in Tottenham. It was important to note that pocket homes would remain affordable in perpetuity which guarantees this type of housing remains affordable in the future and is attractive option when considering development on Council land.

 

  • Councillor Strickland advised that all the normal building regulations and rules would apply in the planning process even though Pocket Homes had a prescribed design.

 

  • In terms of the affordability of these homes,  these would be in the average salary range of a key worker and  there was  a desperate need for intermediate housing as evidenced by  the  ‘First Steps’ website  which indicated that 2300 people in Haringey had  registered interest in one bedroom homes,  demonstrating clear demand.

 

  • It was important to note that intermediate housing was part of the housing solution mix and not ‘instead’ of affordable housing.

 

 

RESOLVED

 

  1. To declare surplus to requirements the land at Kerswell Close (and edged red on the attached plan in Appendix A).

 

  1. To authorise the disposal of the land on a long lease and based on the heads of terms set out in Appendix B of the land to Pocket Living LLP for the sum of £1,000,000. This will be subject to providing 36 units of intermediate housing which is also subject to planning.

 

  1. To delegate the authority to agree the final price and heads of terms to the Director Regeneration Planning and Development after consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing Regeneration and Planning and S151 officer.

 

  1. To note that the retail unit on the site will be disposed of with a loss of £8,000 pa and that budgets be aligned to reflect this.

 

Reasons for decision

Pocket Living specialises in affordable housing developments and is in a position to deliver a scheme that will maximise the number of units on the site. This supports the Council’s Corporate Plan and housing priorities for the Borough.

 

Alternative options considered

The Council could retain the land. However this would limit the opportunity for development and it is unlikely that the number of affordable units would be delivered on the site as proposed by Pocket Living.

 

The Council could dispose to a Registered Provider. However a number of other potential Council development sites will shortly be considered for disposal via this route and Pocket Living will provide a diversity of affordable tenure within this portfolio with their affordable sale product.

 

Supporting documents: