Affordable homes lined up for aspiring homeowners

Affordable house building in the borough has received another boost with new Rational Houses given the go-ahead in Shepherd’s Bush shortly after the council’s latest ‘hidden home’ was unveiled in Fulham.

A proposal to build 13 homes on the Becklow Gardens Estate, in Becklow Road, has been approved by the council’s planning applications committee. Six of these homes will be sold at a discounted market rate and be offered first to local people who are on the borough’s Home Buy register.

They will be part of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Rational House scheme, which sees ultra-modern homes built in a factory off-site using pre-made panels. Once finished, they are winched into position in a matter of days.

A row of eyesore garages will be demolished to make way for a three-storey house, and a part three, part four-storey block containing three one bed flats, five two bed flats and four two bed maisonettes. The scheme will also feature the re-provision of play facilities, landscaping and car parking.

This housebuilding boost comes shortly after local people were given a chance to see the council’s latest hidden home project. H&F has transformed a run-down and disused undercroft on the ground floor of St Peter’s Terrace, in Fulham, into a modern studio flat.

The hidden homes project sees the council converting underused undercrofts, bin stores, pram sheds and garages on council estate land into flats that are sold at a fraction of the market rate.

An open day last month saw H&F residents on the council’s Home Buy register flock to view the St Peter’s property – and already several people have expressed a desire to take their first step on the property ladder by moving into the shared ownership home.

H&F Council’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Andrew Johnson, said:

“We’re on a mission to create more affordable housing in the borough. We know there are hundreds of hard-working local people on modest and middle incomes desperate to own their own home, and we want to help as many as we possibly can.

“Over the next three years alone the council is working to deliver more than 200 affordable homes through its various direct housebuilding projects and, in our bid to establish H&F as the borough of housing opportunity, we want to follow that up with many hundreds more.”

The council is set to team up with Stanhope Plc to embark on the joint venture scheme, which will see more than 300 homes built over the next five years, with about 40 per cent of the redeveloped homes in line to be affordable housing sold at a discounted market rate to help local people.

The first phase of Joint Venture has already identified two opportunities in Fulham – Watermeadow Court Estate and Edith Summerskill House. Existing local social tenants who are on the council’s Home Buy register will get first refusal on all of the discounted new homes.

At the same time, more state-of-the-art ‘Rational Houses’ are scheduled to be built. Earlier this year, planning approval was given to create a three storey building containing a one-bed and five two-bed flats on an under-utilised piece of land in Fulham’s Barclay Close Estate as part of the Rational House scheme – three of which will be affordable homes.

A further 10 ‘Rational Houses’ are due to be built on the Spring Vale Estate. Six of these homes will be sold at a discounted market rate to potential first-time buyers on the council’s Home Buy register.

In addition, the council has been securing more affordable homes through planning agreements with private developers. To date, more than 5,700 people have now approached the council asking for low cost homes to buy.

All of the affordable homes the council is working on as part of its direct housebuilding projects are designed to benefit aspiring homeowners on incomes of between £30,000 and £60,000.