Mayor kick starts landmark St Clements community housing scheme

20 March 2014

The vast 4.63 acre site, owned by the Mayor, is part of London’s first community land trust, run by local people that will deliver permanently affordable housing and space for long-term community benefit.

The proportion of the homes transferred to the Community Land Trust will be sold on a shared equity basis, with prices based on local earnings. In addition the freehold of land will be transferred from the GLA to a community foundation, which will look after the site and ensure a strong connection with local people and businesses. The site, which was originally Bow Workhouse in the mid-Victorian period, includes a historic Grade II listed building that is being restored for community use.

On the new development Linden Homes is delivering 252 housing units, including 58 low cost social rented properties managed by Peabody and 23 units for the East London Community Land Trust. Community Land Trusts are a popular form of housing in America, but very rare in the UK. St Clements evolved into Bow Infirmary and then in 1912 became an institution for the chronic sick. Following bombing during the Second World War, it operated as a psychiatric hospital until its closure in 2005.

The scheme is part of a major release of surplus land owned by the Mayor of London. Since City Hall took on 670 hectares of public land in 2012, a record 85 per cent of it is now developed or in the process of development. His sites, including Trenchard House in Soho, Cane Hill in Croydon, Lymington Fields in Dagenham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Tower Hamlets, Catford Greyhound Stadium in Lewisham, and Greenwich Square in Greenwich, have already boosted the London economy by £3.2bn.

Last week the Mayor announced two more sites being released to the market, offering the potential for 700 homes, in Newham around the Royal Docks.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “This innovative housing scheme has the local community at the heart of it and is delivering permanently low cost homes and creating jobs. I hope this is the first of many such schemes that transforms empty sites and helps ease housing demand. Parts of this historic building will be restored to its former glory so that the community can continue to enjoy this amazing, well-loved site. St Clements is part of a major land release, the size of 290 football pitches, which I’m implementing across the city to turbo boost house building. I’d like to congratulate Linden Homes and the East London Community Land Trust and all the partners involved for working with us on making this dynamic scheme a reality."

Linden Homes Eastern managing director, Adrian Bohr commented: “St Clement’s represents a £40 million investment by Linden Homes in the local community. While it will be an extraordinary scheme for London as the first urban Community Land Trust, in simple terms it provides homes, jobs and opportunities for local people. We will be creating a new neighbourhood for Bow with the community at its heart. The conversion of the Grade II listed hospital buildings will also be complemented by high quality newly built homes. “We will be recruiting about 20% of our construction workers from the local area and offering five apprenticeships to young people resident in the borough – so not only will they have work, but they will learn a trade for the future. Furthermore, we are also planning to procure at least 20 per cent of our materials from local suppliers.”

Peabody chief executive, Stephen Howlett said: “We look forward to working with our partners to deliver these much needed affordable homes in East London, which will benefit the community for generations to come. The development of this important site supports the Mayor’s commitment to creating affordable homes across the capital, and we are proud to play our part”.

Suzanne Gorman, ELCLT board member, and Tower Hamlets resident said: “The ELCLT was born out of a campaign by Citizens UK who believe that there is a need for a different way of building homes. The places we live should be affordable, and the way they look and work should be driven by local people. London is a great city, and part of its charm is the diversity of its neighbourhoods, that other cities, such as Paris, lack.

“As a local family of five we cannot afford to stay in our current shared ownership property. We are part of the local community, our children attend school in the area and it’s where our friends and work are. We want to stay in the area, and the community land trust is the best opportunity we have to be able to afford to do so.”


Notes to editors

About Linden Homes, Galliford Try’s Housebuilding Division Linden Homes is an award-winning housebuilder and the sixth largest residential developer in the UK, specialising in high quality, individually designed schemes across the country. Linden Homes is part of the Galliford Try Group official Supplier to The 2014 Ryder Cup.The company was recently awarded the Large Housebuilder of the Year 2013 and Sustainable Housebuilder of the Year at the Housebuilder Awards. Linden Homes was also named Housebuilder of the Year at the Ideal Home Blue Ribbon Awards 2013.For further information, contact Tracy Mannion, Claire McCowan or Emma Cox at Remarkable Group on 01962 893893.

About Peabody Peabody has been creating opportunities for people in London since 1862.Peabody was established in 1862 by the American banker and philanthropist, George Peabody. Our vision is ‘to make London a city of opportunity for all by ensuring that as many people as possible have a good home, a real sense of purpose and a strong feeling of belonging.’

The East London Community Land Trust (ELCLT) exists to deliver permanently affordable housing in east London, ensuring that people are no longer priced out of the neighbourhoods they grew up in. Born out of the community organising efforts of Citizens UK, ELCLT not only actively engages as many local people as possible, but is in fact is set up by, owned by and run by the people of east London. ELCLT is governed solely by its members and anyone who lives or works in east London can join.