Outgoing Meridian Water boss says housing project ‘in strong place’

Enfield Council thanks Peter George for leading on “transformative regeneration” of Edmonton as first new homes near completion, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The masterplan for Meridian Water and (inset) former programme director Peter George
The masterplan for Meridian Water and (inset) former programme director Peter George

The former boss of Enfield Council’s flagship housing scheme has defended his record and said the regeneration project is in “a very strong place”.

Peter George has left his role leading the £6billion Meridian Water scheme, after more than eight years at the helm, to join Ealing Council as its strategic director for economy and sustainability. His appointment was announced last month.

Enfield Council aims to provide 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs at the 85-hectare Meridian Water site in Edmonton, with the first new flats now nearing completion. But the project has recently suffered a series of setbacks – including delays caused by high inflation and increased borrowing costs.

Peter said: “I’m really proud about what I have achieved during my time at Enfield.

“Meridian Water is very much underway: film studios, [manufacturing hub] Bloqs, a skills academy and train station all delivered, housing completions this year, and infrastructure works starting imminently.”

He added that Meridian Water “is in a very strong place to deliver the next stages”.

Construction work on Meridian One – the first phase of the regeneration scheme – got underway in August 2021 and, last October, the first of the new homes being built went on sale with some of the two-bed flats selling for over half-a-million pounds.

But the project has continued to face criticism from housing campaigners and opposition councillors after encountering a string of problems. Last year, planning chiefs admitted only 5,000 homes were likely to be built at Meridian Water before 2039 because the Greater London Authority was unlikely to allow the release of strategic industrial land for housing development in the near future.

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Earlier this month, a cabinet report revealed spending on Meridian Water was set to be £93m lower than forecast during the current financial year as parts of the scheme were delayed to mitigate rising costs.

The report also revealed that “alternative delivery options” are being considered for Meridian Four – due to deliver more than 800 homes within the wider Meridian Water development zone – following “unprecedented cost inflation”. Street works and railway upgrades have also been delayed.

In addition, several plans approved last year may now need to be revised following the government’s proposals to make it mandatory for tower blocks over 30 metres high to have second staircases. Five blocks taller than 30m were approved with only a single staircase each in September and October last year, but earlier this month council leader Nesil Caliskan said officers were talking to development partners “about revising designs to include additional staircases”.

Regarding Peter George’s departure, a council spokesperson said: “Peter has made a great impact at Enfield Council over the years working on a wide range of projects.

“We would like to wish Peter well in his new role and to thank him for all of his work at Enfield Council, most recently on the Meridian Water project where he has helped to build a capable and enthusiastic team, which will ultimately deliver transformative regeneration to the Upper Edmonton area along with 10,000 homes and thousands of new jobs.”

Meridian Water was originally intended to be led by a master developer but, after negotiations with two private firms fell through in 2017 and 2018, the council opted to take full control of the housing scheme. The council’s masterplan for the area was first published in 2013, with a new one still yet to be published.

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