Serious shortfall: London Mayor clashes with developer over plans to offer just 40 lower-cost homes in new Deptford towers

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is set on a collision course with a developer which is offering only 40 lower-cost homes among the 400 it plans to build at a site in Deptford.

The Mayor says about half of all homes on new sites should be for first-time buyers and cash-strapped renters. In reality, most developers end up offering from 25 to 35 per cent. But at Creekside Village East in Deptford, developer Kitewood (Creekside) Ltd plans just 10 per cent of lower-cost homes in two towers of up to 30 storeys high.

A report by the Greater London Authority says the idea of redeveloping the site, which has been derelict for almost two decades, is welcome. However, planning officers raised “significant concerns” about the lack of lower-cost homes, particularly since a third of the land is publicly owned.

The project will also include an extension to the Trinity Laban dance faculty, which the developer says will cost £13 million, hence the reduced number of lower-cost homes.

Creekside Village East in Deptford: just 10 per cent of lower-cost homes are planned for this scheme with two towers of up to 30 storeys high

“In order to provide the cost of the Trinity Laban facilities… the provision of affordable housing of 10 per cent is acceptable in viability terms,” says a report by consultant WYG Planning, commissioned by the developer. “The investment of this scale in cultural facilities should be given more weight than the provision of the equivalent amount on affordable housing.”

The GLA points out that Trinity Laban owns a fifth of the site which it is offering in exchange for its extension, cutting land costs, and says the offer of lower-cost housing must be “significantly improved” before Lewisham council can agree the plans. The council is due to debate the scheme next month but the Mayor has the right to overthrow its decision if it ignores the GLA’s concerns.

According to the latest data from the London Assembly there was a 25,000 shortfall in the number of homes built in the capital in the last year and the number needed. Of those homes that were built, fewer than 5,500 were “affordable” — aimed at people being priced out of the city.

Philip van Reyk, chief executive of Kitewood said: “The expansion of Trinity Laban has been central to our proposals and will enable the amplification of its local outreach work, already accessed by some of Lewisham’s most deprived communities. The substantial cost of developing these world-class new educational facilities would be funded by the wider development as part of a significant package of local benefits which also include the delivery of affordable homes, opening up almost an acre of public space and sensitively improving the wall of Deptford Creek.”

Professor Anthony Bowne, principal of Trinity Laban, said the expansion would allow the college to “survive and thrive”. He added: “Crucially, this new facility would also provide jobs within this mixed-use development. We are proud to contribute to creative and cultural life here in Lewisham, and to continue to play an important role in the regeneration of the area.”

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