How is Westminster Increasing its Affordable Housing Delivery?
Westminster City Council has announced that residents will soon be moving into the new 300 Harrow Road development, which focus is on boosting affordable housing.
It is the first major development completed under Westminster City Council’s Fairer Westminster strategy, which sets out the local authority’s commitment to increase the number and quality of affordable housing available.
The development is focusing on re-energising the whole area
Half of the 112 homes were previously earmarked for market sale, but last year the council changed the scheme to a mix of council homes for social rent and affordable intermediate rent.
All the one-bedroom homes, including the studios, are set at intermediate rent and the homes with at least two bedrooms are council homes for social rent, helping to meet the need for family-sized homes in Westminster.
It has been said by Westminster City Council that the 300 Harrow Road development is the first in the UK to provide the highest airflow rates for any heating and cooling system of its type. This is essential to keeping homes at the desired temperature all year round and at a low cost.
Cllr Matt Noble, Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Regeneration and Renters at Westminster City Council explained that the development will be critical in creating the thriving communities of the future.
The Cllr said: “The completion of 300 Harrow Road is a momentous step in creating truly affordable, energy-efficient, family-sized homes which are vital for our residents in Westminster. Previously only 17 homes here were going to be council homes for social rent, however we increased this to 77 new council homes for social rent and 35 for intermediate rent.”
The investment in facilities for the local community will re-energise the area and provide benefits for local people for years to come.
Employment opportunities and skills initiatives were provided to residents
Technology will be implemented, with residents being able to benefit from the use of air source heat pumps, solar panels, rainwater collection and living roofs, resulting in lower energy bills and a reduction in carbon emissions.
The air source heat pumps, which provide heating and cooling to tenants, are 300 per cent more efficient than standard gas boilers.
In addition to the new homes, there are wider benefits for the community including a new enterprise space, community centre and an early year’s childcare facility.
Cllr Matt Noble added that with developments like this one, the community need to be put at the heart of it: “This is how we’re building a fairer city – understanding the needs of our community and creating secure, affordable homes to meet that need.”
As part of Westminster City Council’s social value commitment, the scheme has focused on providing employment opportunities and skills initiatives with apprenticeships and work placements for local people, in partnership with construction company Wilmott Dixon.
A total of 15 jobs for Westminster residents were created through the scheme and have been retained by the contractor.
Mark Chamberlain, Project Director at Willmott Dixon highlighted that in order to fully support the community, providing opportunities to them is key: “We are delighted to be handing over the fantastic, high-quality, and sustainable new homes at 300 Harrow Road. These homes and community facilities will make a positive difference to the residents of Westminster.
“Making a positive impact in the communities in which we work is incredibly important to us at Willmott Dixon, and we are proud to have provided employment opportunities, work placements and been involved with a number of community initiatives whilst we have been on site.”
Developments like this one are key to seeing affordable housing delivery be increased in communities all over the UK.