A £500m build to rent scheme to redevelop the Bermondsey Biscuit Factory site has been rejected by Southwark Council.
The scheme for 1,200 flats plus retail and a new school was being brought forward by Grosvenor Britain and Ireland on land owned by the Duke of Westminster.
The plan appears to have been rejected as it did not propose the minimum 35% affordable housing requirement and had no social housing. Objections have also been raised locally that even the affordable homes would not be affordable by local people.
Craig McWilliam, CEO of Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, commented: “We have talked openly to many in Southwark on the opportunities Build to Rent brings, but also the difficult choices, often between competing benefits, that must be made to deliver these new homes.
“We have also consistently acknowledged and sought to explain why the economics of our proposals mean they cannot support social housing.”
This case is by no means untypical in areas of high land values, particularly in London – and is symptomatic of the imbalance between those values and incomes. Housing which is genuinely affordable to local people frequently isn’t affordable (or profitable) for developers to build and vice versa. Perversely, under the current system, the need for affordable housing can actually contribute to the problem it is meant to resolve.