Wednesday 24 November 2021

Network Homes claim 100% affordable housing for its Wembley Job Centre development


Job Centre Plus site  in St Johns Road, Wembley Central

Network Home's CGI of proposal

Network Homes issued a press release yesterday on its planned development of the Job Centre Plus site in St Johns Road, off the High Road, Wembley Central:

We're really pleased to have put in a planning application for 79 new homes in Wembley High Road.

Located on the site of a former office block, the development will be 100% affordable with 49 homes for social rent, 39 for shared ownership and the remaining eight for London Living Rent, a scheme which offers Londoners the chance to save for a deposit to buy shares in their home.

The development would form part of the Wembley Housing Zone which is part of the Mayor of London’s plan help unlock new development opportunities and accelerate the delivery of affordable housing in Brent.

Brent Council will consider the application in spring 2022 and if granted residents could be moving in from summer 2024.

Readers will not need reminding of current concerns over the viability of  shared ownership.  The CGIs only show the lower floors of the tallest block but a tall building on what amounts to a side road (the main building is not actually on Wembley High Road as the PR claims but along St Johns Road and the corner of Elm Road)  will be a concern. It is likely that the proximity  of the  'Twin Towers, the Uncle building, on Park Lane, will be cited as a precedent.

 A pre-application presentation was made to Brent Planning Committee in 2017 LINK and the housing breakdown then included private housing.

Private Market Housing (68% of total):
9x studio

12x 1 bed

19x 2 bed

10x 3 bed

Affordable Housing (32% of total):

8x 1 bed (5x Affordable Rent and 3x Shared Ownership)

8x 2 bed (5x Affordable Rent and 3x Shared Ownership)

8x 3 bed (6x Affordable Rent and 2x Shared Ownership)

Overall Tenure Split on Affordable Housing = 67:33 (Affordable Rent: Shared

 So the proposed mix will be seen as an improvement.

The planning officers' report of the time said:

In seeking to justify the height, the applicant points to local precedents including King Edward Court (03/3727) which forms a similar bookend at the opposite end of Elm Road. The difference with this site is that it fronts a principal movement corridor in the area and the application site does not. It is recognised that the corner location of the site does help support a taller building but it is considered that the height as proposed is too high. The development is not considered to not reflect lower order role of St John’s Road and existing 2 storey housing in the immediate locality. It also noted that there has been no character and context analysis performed in line with the GLA’s SPD and London Plan Policy.

Now of course the Uncle building is part of the landscape.


The 2017 pre-application map (note the proposal then was to preserve the Boots frontage on the High Road)


David Walton said...

It looks like a new Wembley City Plan is urgently needed to protect lives- of strong and stable cohesive civic livable city variant, rather than of fluid and ambiguous colonial mono-housing anti-city variant. Who needs a London version Sao Paulo but without the sunshine?

In Kilburn Major Town Centre, we have one zone pretending that Kilburn is a village (for attracting reduced funding), while Kilburn (TBZ) is a full on community cancelled for developers mono-housing colony non-town regress.

Philip Grant said...

Almost half the homes for shared ownership!

Haven't developers (which is what Network Homes have become, rather than a genuine Housing Association) got the message yet that this is not a method that anyone needing "affordable housing" is likely to want?

Almost every large development in Wembley in recent years (and there are so many of them) includes "shared ownership" as a significant part of the (often meagre) "affordable housing" offer, because it is supposed to make their proposals more viable.

But how many of these shared ownership flats are sitting empty, because people have got wise to the fact (through the experience of leaseholders caught up in the post-Grenfell cladding scandal) that even though you may only own 25% of your home, you will still be billed for 100% of the cost of repairs to the defective building your builder / freeholder has sold you a part of?

Does Brent Council, or anyone, know how many completed "shared ownership" flats in Wembley are sitting unsold and empty?

If those homes had been built for genuinely affordable rent, they could be helping to reduce the waiting time for those in the borough who need a home.