Two major Harrow Council-owned housing developments have been given a major boost, following a decision to bring them into a commercial development partnership with Wates Residential.
The two schemes, a fully affordable development at Milton Road and Phases 2 & 3 of the regeneration of the Grange Farm estate, will together provide well over 500 new homes for the people of Harrow.
The Cabinet decision to bring them within the remit of the council’s existing development partnership, complements its commitment to deliver more than 1,500 new homes at three other major brownfield sites in the borough.
Collectively, this package of five sites now represents one of the most ambitious council-led regeneration programmes anywhere in London. The integration of the Milton Road and Grange Farm developments within the scope of Harrow’s long-term regeneration vision, will help ensure that they are delivered more quickly, more efficiently and with less risk to the local authority.
Leader of Harrow Council, Cllr Graham Henson, said: “Adding these two sites supercharges the potential of our development partnership and puts us on a clear path to delivering truly transformative improvements for the people of Harrow.
“Good housing transforms lives and that’s why I’m very pleased that we’ve committed to accelerate our programme of home building. We’re already built more than 100 new properties in recent years – now the delivery of a further 2,000 much need high-quality homes, many of them truly affordable, is becoming a reality.
“These new communities are at the centre of our plans for future growth and prosperity. Alongside them will come significant investment, new jobs and business opportunities. This is a very exciting time for our borough.”
The council’s partnership with industry-leading developer and contractor, Wates Residential, was agreed in August.
Wates has significant expertise in housing development and the kind of estate renewal set to transform Grange Farm. Wates’s existing supply chains and relationships at every stage of the process will ensure streamlined processes and significant economies of scale across the portfolio of five sites.
Since the development partnership between the council and Wates was formed, work has progressed on bringing forward plans for the three sites in its original remit – Poets Corner, currently the site of the Harrow’s Civic Centre; Peel Road, off Wealdstone High Street and phase 1 of Byron Quarter, which will see the redevelopment of an old driving school test centre site adjacent to Byron Rec. Outlines for these new communities, incorporating retail and workspace, community facilities and 1,500 new homes will be published in the New Year.
The overall regeneration of Grange Farm will see the estate’s tired, old, prefabricated units replaced by close to 600 high-quality new homes designed around green space and community facilities. All secure tenants on Grange Farm have the right to a new home on the redeveloped estate, with shared ownership properties for first-time buyers and homes for commercial sale developed alongside.
Construction of phase 1 of Grange Farm is already underway. 68 families are due to move into beautiful new council rented homes next September. At the same time, 21 new shared ownership properties will be completed.
Phases 2 and 3 of the project, which received outlined planning permission in March 2019, will now be delivered by the council’s commercial development partnership with Wates.
Local residents have been central to the development of the scheme, with an actively engaged residents steering group at the heart of decision-making at every stage of the project.
The Milton Road development is set to transform a parcel of council-owned land adjacent to the current Civic Centre at the junction of Milton Road and Station Road.
The proposed scheme is for 29 apartments and 10 three-story town houses, with front doors opening out onto Milton Road. All properties will be affordable – with 27 of the apartments offered as shared ownership and the remaining properties for council rent at below the London Affordable Rent level.
Preferential access to the shared ownership properties will be given to key workers and those with a connection to the neighbourhood. A planning application for the scheme was submitted in October, following consultation with local residents. The scheme was amended following feedback from those living nearby, with the final submission reducing the height by one storey of the apartment building and other measures to improve integration with the surrounding neighbourhood, including to protect privacy.
There is considerable logic to the council’s development partnership taking the lead on Milton Road as well as the neighbouring Poets Corner development. Doing so will ensure an integrated and cohesively designed neighbourhood of complementary architecture.
A final decision on the Milton Road development is expected at Harrow’s Planning Committee in the New Year.