Greenwich Council look set to transfer three areas of land to their arms-length property company Meridian Home Start.
A cabinet meeting next week is set to give the green light for transferring one site is in Woolwich on Artillery Place while two are in Abbey Wood; land that was formerly part of Abbey Wood school and at garages along Sewell Road.
The Artillery Place site has long been listed on part of Greenwich Council’s website dedicated to housebuilding.
A Council report states that the “front elevation facing directly onto the public highway and an area of hard standing to the rear approximately was constructed in the 1950’s and its last use was as a commercial unit used by a nursery with a range of rooms and facilities which include kitchens, toilets and bath facilities”.
As for the sites in Abbey Wood, the school site on Penmon Road has been vacant for nearing 15 years now. Could well be getting on for 20 now since Abbey Wood school was closed.
Thinking back it may have been part of a larger staff car park before the school was demolished. St Paul’s was built on the site with main buildings shifted to the other end of the large plot leaving an overgrown wasteland ever since.
The garages along Sewell Road were mentioned as being a possible site for homes as part of a strategy drawn up for Abbey Wood way back in 2009 (see page 37).
This report seeks to use two sections for housing.
Since being established 13 years ago Meridian Home Start have so far completed 133 homes.
They offer homes not at social rent levels but at an average of 65 per cent market rates. Arms-length council companies can generate a surplus for councils to reinvest.
One rather odd element is the authority stating in the report that “The Council wishes to utilise MHS’s expertise and track record in delivering affordable housing to design and obtain planning permission for these sites on behalf of the Council.”
Of course, with Greenwich Builds they’ve shown they can do this themselves for building homes at true social housing level at many sites in recent years. It doesn’t offer that option.
Greenwich Council’s Cabinet will decide at a meeting next week. An agreement with Meridian Home Strat would see up to £600,000 (excluding VAT) in public funding.