After all the demolition and building work, Fitzrovia will finally benefit from some much-needed affordable housing. Three sites are either completed or nearing completion at Fitzroy Place, Ogle Street, and Whitfield Place. Together they will deliver a total of 88 affordable homes of which 62 will be for social rent.
Octavia Housing will manage 54 flats at Fitzroy Place (Pearson Square) and expect handover of these homes in August or September 2015 depending on the construction schedule.
Rachel Morency for Octavia Housing told Fitzrovia News: “Forty of the flats will be for social rent and these will be at below the housing benefit cap rates. Octavia only take nominations from the local authority. So in this case Westminster will determine who will occupy all of our socially rented homes — those they deem to be in most need from the housing waiting list.”
According to the s106 agreement with Westminster council there will be 40 family sized (4-6 person) homes. Fourteen 1 bedroom flats will be offered for shared ownership. “Anyone interested in purchasing one can register their interest via our sales website octavialiving.org.uk“, said Morency.
“All interested parties would also need to register with Homeownership Westminster and would need to live or work in the City of Westminster to qualify.
“All the shared ownership homes will be available for people to purchase a minimum share of 25 percent. At this stage it’s too early to say how much a share will cost as we need to be closer to completion to get valid valuation but we are working very closely with Westminster City Council to try to make sure that income levels are sufficient to provide a viable shared ownership product to local people,” she said.
Westminster City Council told Fitzrovia News how the shared ownership scheme works. “Income requirements will be dependent upon the level of deposit the applicant has through savings. Typically we would anticipate households with incomes ranging from £32,000 to £66,000 being able to access these shared ownership homes,” said a spokesperson.
At Ogle Street Peabody took control of the 21 flats in Lavington Mansions last year. Peabody says all 15 social rent homes were let to households on Westminster’s housing waiting list and the six shared ownership properties have been sold and are now fully occupied. Built on the site of a former school of nursing, the estate comes from a S106 agreement associated with The Crown Estate’s redevelopment of one of their Regent Street properties.
Later this year Suffolk House at Whitfield Place will be completed. “It is a 100 percent affordable housing development, being developed in partnership with Derwent London, delivering 7 units for Affordable Rent and 6 units for Shared Ownership,” says Origin Housing.
All the shared ownership flats have been allocated and the rented homes will be filled from Camden’s waiting list.
Affordable housing explained
Social rented homes are only available to those on council waiting lists and rents vary from about £150 per week for a 1 bedroom flat to £180 for a 4 bedroom flat including service charges.
Shared ownership is provided through housing associations. You buy a share of your home (25 to 75 percent of the home’s value) and pay rent on the remaining share. You need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share and you can buy more shares after you become the part owner. This is known as ‘staircasing’. You are eligible if gross household income is less than £66k or £80k for a family sized home (three or more bedrooms) and are unable to purchase a suitable home on the open market; and if you do not already own a home. Priority will go to the following groups, set in priority order: housing association and council tenants, armed forces personnel, key workers, borough residents, then borough workers.