Enfield council hopes to name contractor for 250-home contract in the autumn
Labour-controlled Enfield council has received more than a dozen expressions of interest from developers hoping to build hundreds of new homes for the local authority as part of the next phase of its £6bn Meridian Water regeneration scheme.
Nesil Caliskan, the north London council’s leader, said a decision on which firm would be building 250 homes on phase two of the 20-year Meridian Water scheme would be made in October.
All the homes being built in the second phase of the development will be affordable.
Having announced Galliford Try Partnerships’ appointment to build 725 homes in the first phase of the scheme, Caliskan outlined her criteria for firms hoping to work on future phases of the project.
“If you’re a developer who plans to sell overseas, if you’re not prepared to offer at least 50% affordable homes, if you’re not going to be flexible over the designs and if you’ve other ideas about what we want for ground floor uses of these buildings then we don’t want to work with you,” she told Housing Today.
Caliskan, reputedly the UK’s youngest female council leader, at 30, said she had been warned about “scaring away developers”.
But she said it was clear that most were interested in working with the council on the multibillion-pound development programme, which aims to transform one of the poorest parts of the capital.
“Getting Meridian Water back on track was a priority, and we’ve achieved that. We’ve been very clear since we decided to change our development strategy away from a single-developer to a phase-by-phase, developer-by-developer approach about what we want. We want to speed things up and we want to open up the market and work with companies who understand what we’re trying to achieve.”
Celiskan said it was “never acceptable that only 25% of Meridian Water’s 10,000 homes were affordable”, as had been previously planned.
Barratt had been lined up to build the entire scheme but walked away from the job in October 2017 after falling out with the council over a number of issues.
Celiskan said the council had thought the 25% affordable figure being proposed two years ago “was far too low”, versus its desired 50%.
She went on: “We have a borough where every third child lives in poverty and where 5,000 households are in temporary accommodation. We had spent £350m on land and we wanted to develop a place where ordinary local people can live and work.”
“We are certain about what we want, and developers like that. Having a clear direction matters to developers. They don’t want to work on a failed project and neither do we,” she added.