Plans have been revealed for a substantial section of land at Canning Town to become 1,500 homes once Crossrail depart the site. Custom House will be the closest Elizabeth Line station.

TfL and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have announced plans to partner with a developer at Limmo Peninsula, which has been used in recent years to assist in constructing Crossrail tunnels below.

It’s one of a large number of homes being built around Canning Town, which I covered here.

Traffic wont be so light if Silvertown Tunnel is built

Over the other side of the DLR tracks from Limmo Peninsular is another large development named Brunel Street Works where 1,000 homes are under way.

And just south is another large development named Goodluck Hope at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

TfL site on right

The old bugbear

TfL’s plans have come in for criticism today as “affordable” housing will be 40% – which is below the Mayor’s own target of at least 50% on TfL owned land. There’s no word on social home levels. TfL simply say “truly affordable”.

The need to join with a development partner to develop this land is unfortunate – building outright would allow the large margins private developers insist upon to instead be used to provide more affordable housing.

This is one of the perks of arms-length property companies for councils, such as BexleyCo in Bexley borough and Meridian Homes in Greenwich. These companies avoid government caps and traditional 20% margin private developers insist upon to make schemes “viable” can instead be used to provide a greater numbers of homes for those in need.

It’s not a perfect model and does require public authorities to sell some homes at full price, alongside others at up to 80% market rate to cross-subsidise lower cost homes, but until central Government relaxes or removes very tight restrictions on local authorities ability to build it’s one of the best (and only) options open to get decent numbers of homes built quickly.

The alternative is waiting for private developers to build small numbers of lower cost homes as larger amounts are not “viable” with 20% profit margins.

And that option means many aren’t built. Waiting for change could mean years of short supply.

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