An application has been made to loosen restrictions on rule surrounding the sale of shared ownership homes at a redeveloped estate in Woolwich after they failed to sell.
Homes on the former Connaught estate were limited to those in Greenwich borough but have seen slow take up. It’s not that there isn’t strong demand for housing in Greenwich borough, but are the right homes being provided. Prices are all too often just too high for local people. These homes are on the site of a former estate that mainly comprised of social housing. As part of a project to demolish three estates comprising around 1,000 social homes, 1,600 homes are being built of which 35 per cent are “affordable” including shared ownership. Prices at Connaught in this application to vary terms range from £335,000 for a 1-bed flat to £525,000 for a 3-bed flat.
The development is from Lovell Homes with PA Housing administering the “affordable” homes. They now seek to increase income thresholds to £90,000 and widen those who apply across London.
Connaught – or trinity Walk as it’s now rebranded – is just the first estate. Morris Walk is another and then Maryon Grove will follow. Shared ownership is a component of the schemes, and has come under the spotlight recently due to rent and service charges payable in addition to a mortgage. Service charges have often increased way above inflation. I’ve been hearing of various increases this month at other projects in Woolwich amounting to 50 per cent increases on the year before. It’s a topic I’ll look into in future. If you are seeing this, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Back in 2017 when work was underway on first building the new estate, I noted that removing nearly 1,000 homes (of which many were social housing) for 35 per cent of 1,600 homes was a major net loss in social homes. The Greenwich council leader then appeared to confuse affordable and social housing in a comment. “Affordable” can now include rents at up to 80 per cent market rates (which in parts of London is still extremely expensive) and shared ownership can include a myriad of fees and charges.
A few years later and those “affordable” homes are beyond the reach of people in the borough. The numbers of people in emergency or temporary housing has increased above 1,400 costing the authority and taxpayers millions in unbudgeted costs, and the overall housing waiting list is up to 23,000.