Number of homes to be built on the former Olympic site

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2014-01-15
Session date: 
January 15, 2014
Reference: 
2014/0003
Question By: 
Stephen Knight
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chairman, LLDC) & Dennis Hone (Chief Executive, LLDC)

Question

How many homes will be built in each of the five new neighbourhoods being created across the former Olympic site?

Answer

Answer for Number of homes to be built on the former Olympic site

Answer for Number of homes to be built on the former Olympic site

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chairman, LLDC) & Dennis Hone (Chief Executive, LLDC)

I will try.  The Legacy Communities Scheme, which outlines planning permission for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, includes a programme to create up to 6,800 homes across the five new neighbourhoods.  This includes a site-wide target of 35% affordable housing and a minimum target of 20%.

 

Chobham Manor will deliver 830 homes, a joint development between London and Quadrant (L&Q) and Taylor Wimpey.  It is set to deliver 28% affordable housing and at least 75% family housing.  That is three bedrooms or more.  East Wick and Sweetwater we have accelerated, by the way.  They are coming forward six years from 2029 to 2023.  They will deliver up to 1,500 homes.

 

Marshgate Wharf could deliver about 2,600.  The Marshgate Wharf site is the one south of the Aquatic Centre and the Orbit.  As I was saying earlier to Len [Duvall AM] and to John [Biggs AM], the issue there on the Marshgate Wharf site is there may be an impact from the Olympicopolis vision on the housing numbers but I think, and it is generally agreed across Government, that is a price well worth paying.

 

The Pudding Mill neighbourhood will provide about 1,700 units, including 1,300 units on the Pudding Mill Lane site and 400 units on the site at Rick Roberts Way.

 

Stephen Knight AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Clearly you have said that the development on the Marshgate Wharf site is likely to be 1,000 fewer than the 2,600 figures that you have just given to me if the Olympicopolis plan goes ahead with UCL and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).  Clearly that could result, assuming that the 35% affordable homes proportion is maintained across the total numbers, in 350 fewer affordable homes across the scheme than would otherwise be built.  Can you commit to trying to increase the proportion of affordable homes on the other parts of the development in order to make up that shortfall so that London does not lose out in terms of overall affordable housing?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  I see what you are saying.  I think that would be the wrong way to go.  We are determined to build a high proportion of affordable housing across the area but what I do not think we should be doing is fundamentally changing the plans we have now set out.  The issue in that part of London is not so much the capacity to build more affordable homes, because that capacity is certainly there in that part of Newham, in that area there is the space to build more affordable homes.  The issue is jobs.  The issue is, what are we doing to get the economy going, and that is why I think the strategy that we have is the right one and that is why it is transformational.  It is by creating jobs, by getting the transport infrastructure right and creating a zone of economic activity that you enable housing to go ahead across the area and indeed you enable a higher share of affordable homes because developers have the incentive to build more homes.

 

Stephen Knight AM:  I think all of us welcome more jobs, particularly in east London, but I think Londoners would be surprised to hear you say that the supply of affordable housing was not a key issue almost anywhere in London.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  That is not what I said.  They would be surprised to hear that because that was not what I said.

 

Stephen Knight AM:  Even in Newham I think the supply of new affordable homes must be a priority for you and I think for Londoners.  Therefore, would you not agree with me that it is important that the Olympicopolis project, to bring jobs to the Olympic Park, is not done at the expense of new affordable housing?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  No, on the contrary, it will trigger more affordable housing.

 

Stephen Knight AM:  It will trigger more affordable housing, so you will achieve a greater number of affordable houses?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  In the surrounding area, yes, as a result of the economic transformation that we think we can bring about, you will be able to generate more housing and therefore more affordable housing as well.

 

Stephen Knight AM:  How many and where?

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  A quick answer to this because that will be time.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  I cannot give you an exact figure but I can tell you that there will be many more as a result of the plans we have put in train than would be the case if we simply left the vision for that Olympic area as a new housing estate without any economic activity.  I think anybody around this horseshoe, if you seriously think that is the way forward, then I think you are out of your mind and you would be consigning that area to a most uncertain future and you would not do anything to trigger the creation of housing at all, let alone more affordable housing.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Mayor, we have just heard that there is a site-wide target of 35% and also we have heard that there is now going to be a range, which can be as low as 20%, up to 35%.  When was this range and this minimum 20% introduced?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  In the planning consent that was granted; it has always been there.  It was granted just before the Games and it was finalised with the section 106 agreement in September 2012 and it always had an objective of 35% and a minimum to be achieved of 20%.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Right, OK.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Which is acceptable to the borough.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  That was negotiated.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Given that you have a split within your affordable housing between tenures and it goes 40% part-rent/part-buy, 30% affordable rent and 30% social rent.  That could be of 20%.  That means that you could have as few out of 100 as six social-rented homes if you are going down to 20%, correct?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  Yes, that is true, if you did drop down to 20%.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  If you went up to 35% ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  But you would still have 20% affordable.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  You would still have 20% affordable housing and ‑‑

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  You would still have six affordable rented.  But six houses for families on low income, and if you went up to 35% you would have ten.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  Yes, that is right.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  OK, I just wanted to get clear what we mean by affordable housing and how it breaks down.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  By affordable housing, it would be 35%, not 10%.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Yes, or 20%, but I am saying the range would be six to ten social rented, six to ten affordable rent, and the rest would be part-rent/part-buy.  I am just pointing that out.  That is out of 100 houses.  I just want everyone to get this into proportion, how many homes there will be at low-cost rent.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  I think it is worth saying that we are still delivering very significant numbers of affordable housing, both on Chobham and we anticipate on the site we have out to market at the moment, and we are having to work closely with the local authorities around this and on planning.  The planning consent was negotiated with a lot of input from them, and we are delivering, there is very good comparison --

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Chobham is what I said, it is what you said, it is 35%, so it adds ten.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  Chobham is 28%.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  OK, so it is lower affordable housing, OK.  I thought it was going to be ten so it is lower than that for social rent.  OK, let us see how this plays out in the site you have just spoken about, the ones that I applaud you for accelerating and bringing forward, that is East Wick and Sweetwater.  On those, you are accelerating it; what is going to be the level of affordable housing on that?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  We are currently looking at and talking to Hackney and to Newham about that and I think we obviously would like to get as close as possible to the 35% number.  I am confident ‑ and I think I have said this before to the Assembly in committee ‑ that we will get it up to 30% and I believe we will try and go higher and closer to the 35%.  We will, I think, deliver more than at Chobham at Sweetwater and East Wick, it is a big scheme and we are bringing it forward more quickly, and if you look at it in terms of actual delivery of affordable homes on the ground, by bringing it forward by about six years, the actual level of affordable housing delivery over the next period is very much better than was originally anticipated.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Originally, this site was in the consent you discussed earlier and the actual target was going to be 40% and of course, if you have a minimum of 20% and you are not hitting your 35% as you are not in Chobham, you have to have some that go higher.  Do you acknowledge that?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  Yes, absolutely.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Higher than 35%.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  If we are going to get to 35% then we do, but there is inevitably a trade-off between how quickly you deliver affordable homes and affordable homes that are urgently needed now.  The overall level of quantum that you may achieve if you push this delivery into the late 2020s and the early 2030s might be more, but I think it is better for us to deliver more homes more quickly than we otherwise would have done in order to achieve quicker housing delivery.  Remember it will not just be delivery of the affordable homes, there will be a very significant private rented delivery here we anticipate and I think accelerating that housing, getting those neighbourhoods built, getting the regeneration that people want to see there, particularly the links over to Hackney is important.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  People need housing now; not in the late 2020s.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  You are saying that East Wick and Sweetwater will be nudging 30% affordable homes?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  I have said I am confident we can achieve 30% and we will be trying to go higher than that.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Trying to go higher, and you have acknowledged that the target was originally 40%, so it has now come down for those two sites, and therefore it means that any sites after that have to have in the range of 50% to 60% as their target for affordable homes, otherwise you are not going to meet that 35% target.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  As I said, we will look at the viability of each scheme as it comes forward and that is what the planning consent says.  As the Mayor said, we are now looking at some very ambitious other plans for the area, which we have been pushed to do, frankly, the people who have been most pushing us to do this have been Newham Council and Hackney Council and they have said to us, “Our priority for this area is jobs and growth”.  They have said that very firmly to us and in doing that we will need to look at the viability of schemes in all their aspects as they come forward.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  I want to just remind you, and I am now talking to the Mayor, that you have been absolutely clear that, whatever you do with affordable housing anywhere else in London, the Olympic Park will be different.  It will be a very mixed development and you constantly said that; that it will be mixed.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  There is 50% on the Village already, Nicky.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  It will be mixed.  You have to get the 35% across, and I just want to remind you, 35% only means 10 per 100, 100 per 1,000, of homes for families on low income.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  I understand that.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  I want to make sure that we get that 35% across the whole of the Park and even then it is not very good.  We do not want this to be a gilded enclave.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  All right, but on the other hand we want it to be a place where there are jobs, where there is opportunity, and a mixed community where there is plenty of aspiration and all the rest of it.  That is a vision shared by Newham emphatically and it is something that we can achieve and I think what people want to see is homes on the ground in London, homes built in London, rather than some windy aspiration for a higher and higher proportion of affordable that is completely unachievable and never gets built.

 

Nicky Gavron AM:  Homes for whom?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Homes for Londoners.

 

Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, I just wanted to come back quickly to the Olympicopolis, as you have dubbed it.  On the site that is now going to be built on, how many homes would have been built on that site?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  It depends on what you do, but I think there could be about 1,000 units.

 

Tom Copley AM:  We are going to lose 1,000 units from the site?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Yes.  What you are getting is --

 

Tom Copley AM:  A significant amount of the total number of homes that were due to be built.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  Within the Olympic Park.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  The Olympic Park, but ultimately within the area there is going to be about 24,000 new homes.

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  At least.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  You are talking about a tiny proportion of the eventual new homes that will be created in the area in order to create a massive pole of economic activity and that is completely the right thing to do.  If you think we are wrong then say so.  If you think that is the wrong thing to do then say so.

 

Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, when Stephen Knight [AM] was questioning you, your argument was that, even though you were losing ‑ correct me if I am wrong ‑ these homes in that particular area of the site, more homes would be built elsewhere, is that what you are saying?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Yes.

 

Tom Copley AM:  First of all, do you have any projection of how many extra homes this development would support?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Overall, across the area, we think there will be about 24,000 new homes, and clearly those are homes whose construction depends on the level of confidence, the level of interest there is in the area.  You will not get that going unless you create economic activity at the core and you continue to turn Stratford into a destination, a pole of attraction; that is what is going to get the house-building going.

 

Tom Copley AM:  I understand that.  Just to clarify, the sites where we are losing the homes, those homes will be subject to the affordability targets for the Park, 35% I assume?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  20% to 35%.

 

Tom Copley AM:  Minimum 20%, 35% target.  Will the homes that you are talking about that could potentially result from the added economic development, will they also be subject to that same minimum and the same target?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  They will be subject to the usual strictures in the borough.

 

Tom Copley AM:  But we are going to lose 1,000 homes that would have been minimum 20% but target 35% across the affordable, you cannot guarantee that the homes that will result from the economic development will be subject to the same targets?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  What is Newham’s target?

 

Neale Coleman (Mayoral Adviser for Olympic and Paralympic Legacy and Deputy Chair, LLDC):  I think what is being said is that there is land right down the Lower Lee Valley, some of which is in public hands, some of which is in private hands.  I think the case that is being put, which I think is right, is that, if we do succeed with the very ambitious economic ambitions for Stratford that those developments will come forward more quickly and you will see much more housing built on them and you will probably see it built at higher densities as well, therefore you will see more homes more quickly.

 

The affordable percentages on those homes will obviously be a matter for the individual planning applications as they come forward.  There are some very big GLA-owned sites down there, for example there is the site next to West Ham Station where I am sure that these proposals will make it much more likely that development on that site will come more quickly and you would expect on that site ‑ because it is publicly-owned land ‑ to achieve a higher percentage of affordable homes.  It will vary from site to site but that will be within the context of both the overall planning policies for the area, but also the individual sites.

 

Tom Copley AM:  I will leave the questioning there.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Let me just say, so people can understand, if you go to Olympic parks around the world, if you fail to get economic activity into that park the thing sinks.  You cannot just build homes without --

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you.