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Council announces major new scheme delivering homes for local people 

 
20/02/2012 
The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has today announced the completion of an exciting new deal that will secure the development of 477 brand new affordable residential units in two prime locations both in urgent need of regeneration.

Working alongside leading contractor Laing O’Rourke, its investment arm Explore Investment, and through a partnership agreement with institutional asset developer Long Harbour, the Council has secured funding for hundreds of new homes for local residents, many of whom are currently waiting for properties on the authority’s housing waiting list. The homes will be situated in Barking Town Centre at the prime William Street Quarter site and the Eastern End of the Thames View on the edge of Barking Riverside.

As part of the Council administration’s commitment to deliver new homes for local residents, this deal comes on the back of recent initiatives locally which have secured the building of brand new council houses in the Borough, marking out Barking and Dagenham as one of the most innovative and committed local councils in the country when it comes to securing continuing investment in new homes, even in the teeth of an unprecedented economic downturn.

Each of the 477 properties will be available to local people at affordable rents, ranging between  50 - 80% of local market rates in the Borough. The scheme will be entirely self-financing from the rents paid over the term of the lease.  At the end of the lease period, all the properties will automatically transfer into full ownership of the Council.

The 477 properties will be delivered by leading contractors Laing O’Rourke and Jerram Falkus with a commitment that a quarter of the workforce in the on-site construction will be made up of people from the Borough.

Cllr. Phil Waker, Cabinet Member for Housing at Barking and Dagenham Council comments: “This is a tremendously exciting and innovative scheme which will deliver much needed new homes for the people of this borough.

“The Council Cabinet made a manifesto commitment at the last local election to deliver real and lasting investment in housing, despite the chill economic winds that have buffeted our area - and this announcement is another highly visible example of our determination to deliver on that promise. Not only will we see almost 500 new affordable homes built in prime sites which local people can and will be able to afford to rent, we are one of the very few local authorities that is currently building council housing under our own investment programme. We believe we have a strong record to be proud of.

“I want to pay tribute not only to our own council officers for working so hard on this deal, but also to our partners - Laing O’Rourke and Long Harbour, both of whom have shown real commitment to Barking and Dagenham and an innovative approach that has helped deliver what is the first totally privately funded affordable social housing scheme anywhere in the UK.”

Cllr. Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “These exciting new developments are another step forward in the regeneration of our borough. The new homes at William Street Quarter enhance even further the huge strides in making Barking Town Centre a real destination of choice for residential and investment opportunities and strengthens the viability and vitality of it even further. The new homes at Thames View are also important as they will act to build on the momentum which is being built at Barking Riverside, which - as part of the Thames Gateway, is fast becoming one of the biggest investment opportunities anywhere in the capital.”

Spokesperson at Long Harbour said: “We are naturally very pleased to have worked with Barking and Dagenham Council and with Laing O’Rourke on this transaction. It will go a long way to meeting the demands of local people in this part of London. Barking and Dagenham is a fast-evolving borough that is ripe for investment and will benefit from the regeneration of these two sites. This deal is a clear demonstration of the council’s can-do attitude.”

The first dwellings will be available for take-up in about 18 months time, with the entire scheme expected to be completed within three years.

Cllr. Waker concludes: “These new properties are an exciting prospect - not only are they designed by world-class architects, they will be energy efficient and environmentally sound. They will make an important contribution to closing the gap in housing supply in Barking and Dagenham and help unlock jobs growth and economic activity and regeneration in the two sites and beyond.”

Legal advice for the transaction was provided by Trowers & Hamlins for the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, CMS McKenna for Laing O’Rourke, and K&L Gates for Long Harbour.

Notes for editors

About Long Harbour:
Long Harbour provides advisory, arrangement and management services to UK and international institutions focusing on high credit quality, long dated assets where there are high barriers to entry, including alternative assets classes, infrastructure and real estate. In 2011, Long Harbour launched the Atlantic Regeneration LP, which has an initial capital commitment of £100m. The Partnership is focused on providing long term capital to aid in the development and regeneration of UK housing and infrastructure. For further information: www.longharbour.co.uk

About Laing O’Rourke:
As an international engineering enterprise, Laing O’Rourke funds, designs, manufactures, constructs and maintains the built environment - providing the facilities to accommodate, educate, employ, connect, care for and sustain communities.  The company’s business model comprises the full range of engineering, construction and specialist services capabilities.  Laing O’Rourke’s offer is fully integrated to deliver a single-source solution for some of the world’s most prestigious client organisations. For further information: www.laingorourke.com