A ground breaking ceremony in Waltham Abbey marked the start of Epping Forest District Council’s house-building programme.
The new developments in the first phase of the programme will provide a mixture of accommodation on ‘brownfield’ garage sites and a former Red Cross Hall site in Waltham Abbey. This phase is expected to cost around £4 million, mainly raised by the council.
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The ceremony was held on Friday 13 November at Harveyfields in Waltham Abbey, 1 of 4 sites. The other 3 are in nearby Roundhills and Fairways.
In total the sites will provide
- 4 1-bedroom flats
- 5 2-bedroom flats
- 6 2-bedroom houses
- 6 3-bedroom houses
- 2 1-bedroom duplex houses
Local MP Eleanor Laing attended, and the Chairman and Leader of the Council, along with ward councillors and the council’s partner organisations working on the project.
East Thames – a registered housing provider and social regeneration charity – is development agent for the council’s house-building programme. They are working with Pellings LLP, a firm of construction consultants, and our newly appointed contractor Broadway Construction Ltd.
The council has not built any new housing of its own for around 30 years. So expertise was needed from organisations with recent experience of new affordable housing development. East Thames was chosen because they have a track record in developing homes in the small areas available on housing estates, such as difficult-to-let garage sites.
All the new properties will be let to families on the council’s housing register at ‘affordable rents’. These are different to the social rents that existing council tenants pay, and compare to about half of the rent that a similar property would cost at the full market rate. Residents who rented the garages previously have all been offered alternative arrangements.
Second phase of house-building programme
Plans are already in place for the second phase of the council’s house-building programme. A grant of £0.5 million from the Homes and Communities Agency’s ‘Affordable Homes Programme’ will subsidise the development costs of 40 new affordable homes, based on £12,500 per home. The council will provide the remaining funding for this phase.
This grant is conditional on the council being able to achieve ‘Investment Partner Status’, and being able to deliver the new affordable homes within the timescale of the bid programme.
The second phase of the programme will be concentrated on council-owned land at Burton Road in Loughton. It is expected to provide a total of 52 new affordable rented homes and a detailed planning application has been made. In all, the council has 65 sites across the district on which it hopes to be able to deliver around 30 new affordable homes, per annum, over the next 10 years.