Residents and workers aim to turn former hospital site into affordable housing.
The St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART) came together in 2015 in Haringey, North London, to oppose a development plan on the site of the old St Ann’s hospital that classed only 14 per cent of the planned 470 homes classed as “affordable”.
What started with an opposition meeting of around 50 residents turned into a public consultation to find out what local people wanted on the site. The local community set up a community land trust (CLT) and drew up an alternative plan to build 800 homes on the site, aiming for 100 per cent genuinely affordable. As a CLT, the community planned to own the land and keep homes at affordable prices linked to income, rather than the speculative property market, in perpetuity.
In 2018, the CLT welcomed a decision by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to use his newly formed Land Fund to buy the hospital site. StART entered into a year of negotiations with the Greater London Authority (GLA) to ensure that what is eventually built on the site comes as close as possible to what the community was calling for.
In September 2019 the GLA went out to tender with the St Ann’s site. While StART has achieved some successes in negotiating with the GLA, the group were disappointed that the mayor would only agree to 60 per cent of the units being made affordable. The community masterplan that Haringey residents had developed would only be used as a reference point for bidding developers.
StART is still campaigning for more genuinely affordable homes. It has secured 50 homes to be developed by the CLT and are hoping for more. Developers and housing associations will have to give lifetime tenancies to all those who get London Affordable Rent homes on the St Ann’s site, and StART have ensured that the land itself remains in public hands as the GLA will keep the freehold.
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