Arthur Street in Erith is a 1960s estate recently announced as suitable for the chop. Following on from the former Larner Road estate, now re-branded as Erith Park just down the road, we now see comprehensive plans submitted for redevelopment.
Orbit South Housing Association and Wates Residential are behind the scheme. Orbit are the landlord of 4,600 homes across Bexley borough.
The current site is unloved by many – though no doubt some tenants will disagree – and a typical estate of its era.
Architecturally losing the estate may not be too controversial, though losing many truly affordable homes will be. The site currently has 263 homes with 254 as social rent – 97% of all homes. Social rent is generally around 40%-50% of market rent and despite what some state is not subsidised.
Under these plans there will be a substantial drop in truly affordable housing under these plans despite an increase of homes across the site. There are no social rent flats included.
- 121 homes will be “London Affordable Rent” – which can be around 60% market rate. Up to 20% higher than existing homes
- 58 will be “London Living Rent” – which is higher still and aimed at “middle-income earners”. Annual salary capped at £60k. Far in excess of many living in the area.
- Shared ownership and private sale comprise the rest
The definition of “affordable” is becoming ever more convoluted; it wouldn’t be to hide the ever increasing cost of renting would it? See the “affordable” new flats planned by Pocket Living on council land across Greenwich borough. They are at 80% market rates and a heavily criticised definition of “affordable” introduced by the coalition government after 2010.
The planning statement even claims the site has “a mix of social rented homes which does not reflect local need”.
Well, maybe not to Orbit senior staff on very healthy salaries. Less so for those across the area in actual need.
This means people will be either shipped out of London or forced into higher cost rented properties with housing benefit – and taxpayers – forking out the difference. The Housing Benefit bill is already above £23.4 billion a year in the UK.
Imagine if that sum was spent building new homes instead of subsiding landlords and developers.
The site is sandwiched between Northend Road dual carriageway and the Southeastern railway line with low rise housing to the north and south in an area seeing many new homes.
Erith Park to the west has been built with over 600 homes and completes in 2019. The the east, over the railway line, lies the former Linpac Factory. 336 homes approved there.
Erith train station is 0.7 miles to the north with Slade Green station 0.8 miles to the south. Public transport accessibility is rated 1 out of 6.
The current site has tower blocks up to 13 floors in height. This scheme tops out at nine storeys.