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Space found for socially rented flats in new Woodberry Down block

Woodberry Down. Photograph: Hackney Council.

Space has been found for seven flats for social rent in the next tower block to be built as part of the Woodberry Down regeneration project, taking the level of such properties in the building from zero to three per cent.

Block B on Woodberry Grove already has planning permission for 241 units, but pending a planning sub-committee decision on 12 December, could see 275 after the removal of a first floor podium slab from the designs.

In total, 34 new properties will be added in  – the seven for social rent, as well as seven for below market rent/shared ownership, and twenty for private sale.

Geoff Bell, chair of the Woodberry Down Community Organisation, said: “This has been subject to negotiation and agreement, and in line with the overall masterplan, which stipulates that 41 per cent of all new homes will be affordable homes, according to the Hackney definition.

“Slightly over 41 per cent of these additional units will be affordable, so it’s a pretty good deal to get, because the figures at the start were slightly different.”

Hackney Council decided to demolish and rebuild Woodberry Down Estate back in 1999, kicking off a 20-year programme in collaboration with developer Berkeley Homes, Genesis Housing Association and local residents’ groups.

The amount of socially rented property available on the newly redeveloped estate has come under the microscope in recent months, after figures released by the Green Party suggested a net loss of social housing in the borough could be traced back to the Woodberry Down project.

Whilst Hackney Council have hotly contested Berry’s findings since the City Hall Greens released London-wide figures back in September, the Town Hall has to date been unable to directly refute them with statistics of its own.

The lack of council-backed stats for homes previously demolished on Woodberry Down has been blamed on poor record-keeping dating back to the early 2000s.

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