Council denies affordable homes reduction at Meridian Water

Meridian Water
Phase 2 of Meridian Water includes homes designed for ‘canal-side living’

Planning committee set to vote on lower affordability housing provision, reports James Cracknell

Councillors will be asked to consider a reduced level of ‘affordable’ housing at the second phase of Meridian Water – but Enfield Council insists there’s no change to what’s planned.

Members of the planning committee are set to debate on Thursday 11th March whether or not to allow an affordable homes level of 28% at the proposed redevelopment of Orbital Business Park in Edmonton, where 2,300 homes are planned as part of the flagship Meridian Water housing project.

However, the council claims the decision will not affect the number of discounted homes that will be built there. A spokesperson explained that the scheme was only being sent back to the planning committee in order to comply with new regulations. It was originally approved in March 2020.

They said: “The amount of affordable housing that will be provided at phase two of Meridian Water will be 40%. The planning application for Meridian Water was submitted on the basis that the amount of affordable housing that can be delivered within phase two, without grant funding, is 28%. The intention was to increase this to 40% through the use of S106 agreement grants.

“Because the government has changed the rules so that grant funding will only be made available where it will increase the proportion of affordable housing over what is already considered viable without grant funding, the planning consent needs to be amended to reflect this change in the law. There is no change to the proposed amount or type of affordable housing.

“This process is a necessary administrative process which will have the effect of guaranteeing 40% affordable housing on phase two of Meridian Water.

“The fact is that the GLA [Greater London Authority] remains committed to providing Meridian Water with the grant needed on this site to achieve 40% affordable housing. Neither the changes to the grant regime nor returning to planning committee will in any way alter their position.”

Asked how much money was needed to provide the 40% affordable homes level, the spokesperson said: “The GLA has been hugely supportive of Meridian Water to date, including providing grant funding for Meridian Water Station, the affordable workspace project with Building BloQs, and their allocation of an affordable housing grant for Meridian One.

“The government negotiates regular settlements with the GLA to provide grant funding from central government finances, known as S106 grant funding. The level of grant required to achieve 40% affordable housing has yet to be finalised.”