Westminster City Council reaches important mile stone for social housing
Above: social housing under construction at Ebury Bridge, Westminster (courtesy Bouygues UK)
One of Westminster City Council’s flagship regeneration projects, which delivers on the authority’s commitment to increasing the availability of social housing, has reached a major milestone.
Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Council, has performed the ‘topping out’ of Phase 1 of the Ebury Bridge regeneration in Knightsbridge and Belgravia – the symbolic stage when construction reaches its highest point of the building – by laying the final piece of the construction frame alongside lead contractor Bouygues UK.
Once complete, the Ebury Bridge scheme will deliver the highest number of new socially rented properties in the borough for 50 years, fulfilling a pledge of the current administration and at a time of acute need for affordable housing in central London.
Westminster has increased the number of new socially rented properties at the scheme from 41 to 171, bringing the number of new or replacement council homes for social rent to 370. Following a resident ballot earlier this year, where 91% of residents voted in favour of the scheme, the council has been able to gain £41m in funding support from the Mayor of London.
The first residents will start moving in next autumn as the 226-home phase one, across a range of tenures, completes. Some 781 homes are being delivered across all three phases at Ebury, which will also deliver important facilities and spaces to support the health and wellbeing of residents including a new community hub, nursery, play facilities, fitness centre and four high-quality public squares and pocket parks.
As housing demand rises, maximising the number and quality of affordable homes is a key pledge in the Fair Westminster strategy and includes new social housing, new intermediate rent homes and homes for sale and rent with plans for more than 2,000 new homes by 2027.
As well as the Ebury scheme, Westminster’s other key regeneration project is at Church Street in the north of the borough, with plans to build 1,120 high quality new homes, with over 50 per cent affordable housing.
The Ebury scheme is being built by Bouygues UK, which has donated £74,000 to community projects and given 35 hours a week to volunteering at projects including the Abbey Centre, Construction Youth Trust, Women into Construction, and Social Bite. Bouygues UK has supported career sessions, work experience placements and educational support for residents and schools, and has taken on five apprentices from surrounding London boroughs.