Hackney Council will knock down and replace public housing blocks in Homerton with five new buildings – containing 40 per cent fewer homes for social rent.
The scheme to demolish the 75-home Marian Court buildings on Link Street and replace them with 160 homes received the go-ahead at Wednesday’s planning sub-committee meeting.
The new blocks – ranging from three to 12-storeys – will contain 32 homes for social rent, down from 47 in the old scheme, a drop from 63 per cent to 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of private homes will increase from 28 homes to 69, alongside 59 new intermediate homes, which are usually above social rent but below market rates.
Council planning officers argue that the Marian Court plans are part of a broader regeneration including nearby Bridge House, and that this whole project will be 57 per cent affordable housing.
Across both sites this figure breaks down as 65 per cent intermediate housing and 35 per cent for social rent.
David O’Shaughnessy, representing residents from Homerton High Street, spoke against the plans at the meeting, complaining about the loss of light to his building and the scheme’s lack of affordable housing.
“The loss of light that would arise if this application is granted would have a detrimental effect on the quality and quantity of light that my family and neighbouring apartments have enjoyed without interruption since they were built”, he said.
“The case officers suggest that taking a holistic view of the planned regeneration, the level of affordable housing will increase. This might well be true. But the level of truly affordable housing – i.e. social rent or London affordable rent – does not meet the targets of either.”
John Lumley, director of regeneration at Hackney Council, defended the plans at the meeting, saying the Marion Court development is part of a broader council regeneration programme.
“That programme exists to replace homes which have been left in ill-repair […] to try and increase the number of social rented housing that the council provides across the borough”, he said.
Lumley suggested he and O’Shaughnessy would disagree about whether intermediate homes should count as affordable housing.
The Marion Court development was passed by the whole planning sub-committee except for Labour councillor Clare Joseph, who abstained./ 8 June, 2018