Press Release: 04 October 2018
Leader of Haringey Council and Deputy Mayor of London open new community centre in West Green
Today Leader of Haringey Council Cllr Joseph Ejifor and the Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney opened a new community centre and nursery in West Green. The new community facility is being provided by affordable housing developer Pocket Living on surplus land acquired from Haringey Council. The opening marks the completion of the first phase of West Green Place which will eventually provide affordable housing to nearly 100 local first time buyers.
The new community centre will provide a modern purpose-built home for the West Green playgroup and Goan Community Association. The community centre backs onto a new public square so that visitors, residents and the wider community can enjoy this new space – opening up access to the greenery of Downhills Park.
The building is being constructed using innovative modern methods of construction involving an environmentally friendly timber frame which was built in a factory. This style of construction meant that the site was cleaner and less disruptive for local residents – ensuring the building was opened sooner. The centre owes its striking design to local emerging architectural practice Dyvik Kahlen Architects, who won a 2016 design competition run by Pocket Living for small and young architecture practices.
Once completed, the site will provide 98 Pocket affordable homes for local people (the equivalent of 16.3% of the borough’s annual affordable housing target). The Pocket homes will be sold outright at a discount of at least 20% to local first-time buyers. The homes stay affordable in perpetuity and they are always restricted to first-time buyers living or working in Haringey who are eligible for affordable housing (as defined by the Mayor of London). This model allows city makers, London’s hard-working young people on moderate incomes, a route into homeownership. The new Pocket homes at West Green Place are Pocket Living’s first in Haringey. They also are partly being partly constructed using modern methods of construction as the bathrooms of the new homes are being delivered in factory built pods.
In a borough where the average house price is now 11 times the local average income, there is huge demand for this sort of housing. Over 2500 Haringey residents are registered on the Share to Buy affordable housing database and 480 local first-time buyers have already expressed their interest in owning a Pocket home. The scheme was supported at planning committee by a passionate first-time buyer who spoke to local councillors about how she has grown up in Haringey but been priced out of the local market and how a Pocket home could help her.
Pocket Living’s commitment to delivering affordable housing has been backed by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London who last year provided the company with a £25million loan to deliver sites like West Green Place. The Mayor’s backing will see Pocket Living start on 1059 affordable homes by March 2021, around a third of which will be delivered using modular construction.
The Leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, said:
“This centre will provide a fantastic space for our community and I’m thrilled to be able to open it. As well as offering this brilliant new facility, the project will also deliver a range of housing – something that is needed in Haringey and across London.”
Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, Joanne McCartney, said:
“A child's first years can set the path for the rest of their life, so it’s vital that good-quality, affordable childcare and early-years education are available to all. That’s why I’m so delighted to open this much-needed new community centre and nursery in West Green. There is a real need for more affordable childcare places all across the capital and this new centre will help to make a difference to the local community.”
Pocket Living’s Chief Executive Marc Vlessing said:
“The new community centre is a fantastic addition to the vibrant local community in West Green and will be a valuable asset for residents for years to come.
“Pocket Living received the Mayor of London’s backing and assistance because we are able to deliver high quality and genuinely affordable homes for local people at speed. West Green Place is just the latest example of that.
“West Green Place represents Pocket Living placemaking at scale for the first time – and for the social good of the community.”
Candy Fernandez (President and Chair of Goan Community Association) said:
“We are delighted at the prospect of a brand new home to move into. Investment in community infrastructure like this is vital for the future of West Green. The new community centre will play an important role for years to come – providing local residents, older people and children alike, with facilities to enjoy and share.”