Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has secured an additional £5 million for affordable housing in Westminster as part of a new development on Baker Street. Initially, Westminster Conservatives were willing to accept just £5 million in lieu of the required amount of on-site affordable housing. But the Mayor used his powers to step in and negotiate a further £5 million from the developers, the Portman Estate, so that £10 million will now be available for new affordable flats in Westminster.
In all, the Mayor has negotiated an agreement which will include the following provisions:
- Affordable housing, comprising 10 on-site discount market rent units (at a rent of £181 per week for the one-beds, £202 per week for the two-beds, inclusive of service charges), together with a payment of £10M, with early and late stage viability review mechanisms;
- £1,465,499 Crossrail contribution;
- £145,800 carbon off-set contribution for the residential element and £84,780 for the non-residential element;
- £30,000 towards of off-site tree planting on George Street, Gloucester Place and Blandford Street.
The Mayor’s report says:
“A late stage review is particularly needed in this case as the on-site tenure is all intermediate, a payment towards affordable housing is involved, and there is potential for significant changes in costs and values over the course of the development. The applicant had initially resisted a late stage review; however, after lengthy negotiations between GLA officers, the applicant, and the Council, early and late stage viability reviews have been secured in the draft section 106 agreement. Negotiations have also secured an unredacted version of the applicant’s FVA (Financial Viability Assessment), which has been published on Westminster City Council’s website.”
Councillor Geoff Barraclough, Westminster Labour’s Planning spokesperson, welcomed the Mayor’s decision and said:
“Thanks to the Mayor we’ve got £5 million more for affordable housing for local residents, ensured transparency on the financial modelling, and taught Westminster’s planners a thing or two about how to get the great estates to abide by their obligations to the community.”
The proposals comprise
“Demolition of the existing buildings at 19-35 Baker Street, 88-110 George Street, 69-71 Blandford Street; extension and change of use of the first floor from office to residential at 30 Gloucester Place; redevelopment to create a mixed use scheme providing offices, retail, and up to 51 residential units, within buildings of up to ten storeys; and creation of a new central, publically accessible courtyard and route connecting Baker Street and Gloucester Place.”