Brent to make housing zone bids for Alperton and Wembley

Out-Law News | 25 Sep 2014 | 5:27 pm | 2 min. read

Brent Council has endorsed proposals from the Council’s strategic director of regeneration and growth (SDRG) to submit separate bids to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for Alperton and Wembley to become housing zones.

The GLA intends to designate a total of 20 housing zones with relaxed planning restrictions across London, in order to help bring forward large housing developments on previously developed land. Each housing zone will receive a share of £400 million in loans from the GLA and central government towards the cleaning up of brownfield sites and the delivery of infrastructure to allow rapid development.

The proposals for Brent were discussed at a meeting of the Council’s cabinet last week. A report (12-page / 138 KB PDF) produced for the meeting by the SDRG said that Wembley and Alperton were among “five growth areas with the potential to accommodate large-scale housing development and business and employment growth” in the Council’s regeneration strategy for 2010 to 2030. The other three areas were Colindale/Burnt Oak, Church End and South Kilburn.

According to the report, “Wembley and Alperton are considered the most suitable candidates for housing zone status, and both meet the GLA’s criteria. Wembley is an identified opportunity area within the London Plan. Of the five growth areas it has the largest capacity for new housing development with issued planning consent. At Alperton significant development is underway and there is potential to increase both housing capacity and delivery, including in the short-term.”

In the Alperton growth area, which consists of 12.25 hectares of poor quality industrial land along the Grand Union Canal, the proposed delivery of "at least 1,600 new homes to 1,600 to 2026" was being held up by issues such as contaminated land, low public transport accessibility, fragmented land ownership and difficulties in relocating businesses, the report said.

The SDRG said that Interventions proposed in a housing zone bid for Alperton would be "mainly focused on the central character area and Northfields" and that the delivery of a mixed-use scheme of homes and employment space in Northfields was "considered to be crucial to ensure the regeneration at Alperton does not result in the closure of businesses to the detriment of Brent's economy".

The report said that the 70 hectare Wembley growth area had the capacity to accommodate "at least 11,500 new homes", with planning permissions already in place for 5,000 homes. However, delays had been caused by "the earlier need to deliver significant infrastructure improvements" and the effects of the recession.

The "precise zonal area" of a proposed Wembley housing zone had yet to be drawn up, the SDRG reported, but "a focus on sites in and around the Wembley Link area" had been considered. Interventions proposed "are expected to include efforts to encourage tenure diversification and to accelerate supply through the delivery of additional private rented, intermediate and affordable housing", said the report.

The deadline for London boroughs to submit bids for housing zone designation is 30 September.