Thamesmead Housing Zone’s first homes complete after five years – and the cost is eye-watering

Peabody have finally completed their first homes at the Thamesmead Housing Zone almost five years after they were first announced. But don’t get too carried away. It’s only 66 flats out of 3,000.

And how much for a very small 1-bed flat overlooking Belmarsh on Western Way? The Housing Association value them at around £280,000.

The Reach

They’re plugging shared ownership (of course) and asking £70k for a 25 per cent share. In addition to the mortgage a “buyer” would then need to pay rent of £481 a month and then a service charge per month of £157.

This is the layout of a £275,000  flat

That’s for a very small 1-bed flat with combined kitchen and living room.

Housing Zone sites. Very little movement at many

Housing Zones were announced by Boris Johnson and George Osborne back in 2014 as yet another solution to the housing crises. They havn’t achieved a great deal. And nor have Peabody after 3,000 homes were mooted in 2015 across Thamesmead. Almost five years on and just 66 are complete.

West Thamesmead Gateway plans

It’s taken an age to get moving at sites. Many sites have barely progressed beyond consultations and renders – and that’s including those already near existing railway stations and not requiring new links.

A vast site near Plumstead station hasn’t gone very far in the past couple of years  – and nor has promised infrastructure upgrades leading to Plumstead station.

New homes by Plumstead gyratory long on the drawing board

Work has finally begun at what was Tavy Bridge in Thamesmead after much of the area being little but rubble for a decade.

It’s taken nearly a decade to get this far

Peabody have a great publicity operation and when covered by the national press it’s normally in glowing terms. Very little is mentioned about extremely slow progress – nor the end prices.

The cost of these flats are likely to be prohibitive to many, and compared to houses in Thamesmead are far from good value.

Previously Peabody were marketing the development as located in Greenwich and when you clicked local amenities were shown Greenwich Park. It’s not exactly five minutes away.

Taken from Peabody website. Technically in “Greenwich” as in the borough, but come on.

Back in 2008 many Thamesmead flats went heavily into negative equity and took many, many years to emerge. It was one of the hardest hit parts of London.

Those buying new flats with Help to Buy, shared-ownership and the rest today could well be walking that same path.

New Woolwich flats. Help to buy all over hoardings

We already know Help to Buy has pushed new-build prices up far above local averages, which places many buyers into negative equity on day one. Those who got in early did well but many in recent years will see a different picture when it comes to sell as prices have stagnated at best – which is what was often warned at the outset. It kicked the can down the road and didn’t address affordability issues.

The premium that Help to Buy now adds to local averages stands at £63,000 across the UK and higher in London.

It seems every option is pursued except substantially increasing supply of homes to all tenures and reducing prices to truly affordable levels.

Those in charge are however desperately trying to keep the plates spinning with prop after prop. For how long?

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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