The GLA launched the first stage of their tender to find a partner for developing the St Ann's Hospital site on Friday 6th September, with an Expression of Interest and a Sifting Brief.
Since March 2018, when the GLA bought the site, St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART) has been working in a Steering Group to try to persuade the GLA to adopt StART's masterplan as the basis for any tender process. From the masterplan, we presented objectives to create genuinely affordable housing that will help build a cohesive and sustainable community.
The StART objectives were discussed with the GLA (and Haringey Council) in the Steering Group. The intention was that the objectives would be shared by all parties and form the basis of the GLA's tender process. StART worked hard to influence the tender process. This included proposing alternative methods for selecting a development partner, as well as trying to secure wording that supports our objectives.
StART Director, Tony Wood, said, “We feel we have achieved some significant milestones although not everything that StART set out has been included. We are disappointed that the key aim of genuinely affordable housing in perpetuity, linked to median incomes in the area does not appear in the GLA’s requirements. We also do not agree with the GLA that shared ownership is an affordable housing “product” for the people of Haringey and we are sad the tender will include some shared ownership homes. However, we want to highlight that working with the GLA and having regular updates with the Deputy Mayor for Housing - James Murray - has secured noteworthy gains.”
A New Stage in the Campaign
Following a meeting on Wednesday night, StART is now prepared to enter the next stage of the project in two ways.
Firstly, StART has chosen to act outside the formal tender process. StART will be freer to engage in activities to further its aims for the site and influence the key stakeholders and participants outside the GLA’s processes.
Secondly, StART intends to build on its objectives in the masterplan by undertaking a feasibility study into the opportunity presented by 50 community-led homes on the site. This will involve a grant application to the ‘Community Led Housing London’ hub to test the options for 50 or more homes that StART might develop and manage. This will enable StART to have clear proposals to discuss with shortlisted bidders.
Successes to date
The process of negotiation between StART and the GLA has delivered significantly more than the 14% ‘affordable’ housing that was included in the original planning application. These gains are:
- Community Led Homes - The potential for the largest community led homes development in London - 50 homes have been designated for a community-led development;
- More Affordable Homes - A substantial increase in the percentage of genuinely affordable homes from 0% in the original planning consent to at least 50% [tbc by GLA];
- Genuinely Affordable to Local People - A reduction in the level of shared ownership homes usually expected in a GLA scheme from 1/3 of all affordable homes to 20%, which makes the affordable homes more accessible to people on local average incomes;
- Masterplanning Principles - StART's Masterplan included in the tender which we hope the bidders will be able to integrate into their responses to the site;
- Environmental Benefits - protecting the SINC, the Peace Garden, improving net biodiversity and securing a target Green Space Factor of 0.4;
- Links to Health - securing a porous border with the retained NHS facility to improve links to health and wellbeing; and
- Continuing Community Involvement – following the tender process and contract award to the winning bid, StART will have an opportunity to be involved in the project via the revised Steering Group, including the GLA, Haringey Council, the NHS and the selected developer.
- Freehold – StART argued from the beginning that this was public land and needs to stay public land, so we are pleased the GLA will keep the freehold to the land, but we would like to explore the possibilities of it being transferred to a Community Trust.
- Lifetime tenancies – The London Affordable rent homes will be let on lifetime tenancies.
The St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART) was formed by Haringey residents who want to ensure that the proposed housing developments on the former St Ann’s Hospital site provides as many desperately needed, genuinely affordable homes for people in the local community as possible.
StART has a membership of over 450 residents and over 1000 registered local supporters. Its mandate comes from a series of community engagement events asking the people of Tottenham and the wider borough of Haringey what they wanted to see on the site.
An interesting aspect - and missing from this post - is how much support Haringey's Muswell Hill Colonial Regime is giving to StART. If any?
They've succeeded beyond most people's expectations thus far. I think they'd do well to keep Haringey Council as far from the business end of their development as possible.
The bulk of the political wing of the Council will be far too busy at union and party conferences at the moment anyway. The propagation of the "for the many, not the few" mantra is far more important to them than its application.
Imagine there's no Council, it isn't hard to do. Pretend there is no leader, no cabinet members too. Imagine no degeneration team; it's easy if you try. Imagine affordable housing with sunshine and blue sky. It’s great to be a dreamer.