Huge cash windfall for Edmonton housing project comes after new plans are submitted by council, reports James Cracknell
Meridian Water received a double boost after Enfield Council won £156million to spend on transport infrastructure – and submitted its own plans for 2,300 homes.
The £6billion housing scheme on disused industrial land in Edmonton has suffered a series of setbacks but the council now hopes the money awarded by the Department for Transport will be key to unlocking its potential.
New roads, environmental improvements and a high-frequency rail service at newly-opened Meridian Water Station are now set to be delivered by 2023. The cash from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund will be spent on creating two new parks, cycle lanes, bridges and naturalised brooks, although the centrepiece will be an east-west “boulevard” linking Lee Valley Park with the station. Additional track will be laid to allow up to eight trains per hour to stop at Meridian Water.
Last year the council took over control of the whole project after two big deals with developers went sour. Leader Nesil Caliskan said: “Enfield Council has invested more than £250m to drive this project forward. Since taking back control of Meridian Water, we have been ensuring residents will be the principal beneficiaries.
“This funding will allow us to forge ahead with providing improved infrastructure, including a more frequent train service, which is needed to support this incredible development.
“The success of the bid reflects the fact that the government recognises the huge potential of Meridian Water.”
News of the cash award came shortly after the council announced it was planning to build 2,300 homes at Meridian Water as part of Phase Two, with work on up to 1,000 homes in Phase One set to start this year.
A planning application for the creation of a “vibrant riverside community” is the largest ever submitted by the local authority and if approved would see at least 920 ‘affordable’ homes built over the next decade – 40% of the total. It is being accompanied by a second application for supporting infrastructure, including a primary school. A new green space called ‘Brooks Park’ would be created on the eastern bank of the Pymmes Brook.
However, a Labour councillor for Edmonton Green has criticised the council’s plans, calling for more social housing to be included. Tolga Aramaz has helped launch a new campaign group called ‘Meridian for Council Homes’ which demands 100% of new homes built on council-owned land be for social rent.
Cllr Aramaz said: “The new homes will consist of 40% ‘affordable’ and 60% private sale. Those ‘affordable’ homes are made up of 70% at council rates and 30% at intermediate rates.
“It is my belief that public land should be used to address the housing crisis in the borough, with 4,500 people on the council waiting list and 3,500 in temporary accommodation. Only council homes can deal with this problem and that is what we need to prioritise.”
Cllr Aramaz points out that of the 750 homes granted planning permission at Meridian Water to date, just 75 are for social rent.