One of the biggest mid-market housing developments in the country has won planning consent in Wembley, north London.
Brent Council approved plans by HUB and Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”), a specialist sustainable and impact investor, to transform a disused office block into twin residential towers containing 239 mid-market homes.
The 21 and 26 storey towers, designed by Maccreanor Lavington Architects, will be the tallest in Wembley, but HUB successfully argued that the height was appropriate in this location given the great transport links, the quality of the building design and accommodation, and the space offered back to the community.
Crucially, HUB will focus on developing homes for working Londoners. A mix of affordable housing, units for sale and apartments built specifically for rent will sit above a new community centre, extensive public realm, retail space and cycle storage.
Councillors praised HUB for its commitment to engaging with locals at the planning meeting on Wednesday night, welcoming its “proactive” approach to public consultation.
HUB has a pipeline of more than 1,200 homes across London, including the futuristic Hoola London scheme in Royal Docks, which also boasts twin-towers.
Councillors also hailed the company’s Wembley designs as a “vast improvement” over the existing building, and described the community centre as a “great asset”.
More than two thirds (68 of 103) of the homes built for rent will be offered at affordable rents in perpetuity, marking a significant contribution to the housing needs of low-income households in Brent.
Chesterfield House will include a range of one, two and three-bed apartments spread across the two towers. A lower-level plinth creates a C-shape allowing a new public space to be provided off Park Lane, right in the heart of Wembley.
Neighbouring businesses stand to benefit from the plans, with an improved streetscape seeing a new canopy installed and commercial spaces given prime location. A new colonnade at the corner of Park Lane and Wembley High Road will help alleviate the pavement pinch-point caused by the current building’s design.
HUB purchased the site in summer 2014 in partnership with Bridges. The Bridges property funds invest in commercial real estate opportunities that can deliver clear societal benefits alongside strong financial returns.
This is the second major collaboration between Bridges and HUB: the two partners are also redeveloping the former EMI pressing plant at The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, on behalf of Fizzy Living.
Underlining its commitment to the local community, HUB encouraged job clubs, playgroups and women’s support groups to use the space during the planning process.
Steve Sanham, Development Director at HUB Residential, said:
“We’re delighted the council has supported our bid to regenerate the centre of Wembley. Councillors have recognised the value of well-considered design, while ensuring the local community benefits from a range of amenities. Above all, the capital needs more mid-market homes accessible to Londoners. HUB’s mission has always been to cater for this silent majority and we’re delighted that Wembley will join our stable of projects across the city.
“Our aim is help drive new investment into Wembley while also providing vital new housing that’s within reach of people living in the local area. With a community centre, new public realm and a blend of rented and for sale housing, we see a genuine community emerging at Chesterfield House.”
Simon Ringer, Partner and Head of Property Funds at Bridges Ventures, said:
“We have always believed that property investment can help to address pressing societal needs. By responding to a clear challenge – the lack of affordable housing in London – the Chesterfield House scheme has the potential to support the regeneration of the Wembley area while also providing good financial returns for investors. HUB has worked extremely hard to engage with local residents and ensure that the development will deliver tangible benefits for the community, and we’re very pleased that Wembley has recognised this.
A spokesperson for London Borough of Brent said:
“Wembley is our biggest growth area for which we have great ambitions. We are already seeing a large amount of development and investment around the stadium but this approval sets the scene and could be the catalyst for further growth and investment on the high street.
“We aim to make Wembley and Brent a better place to live, work and play, and I am pleased to see a development come forward, which will provide affordable housing, community space, retail uses and a new public square for local people to use as well as generate over £5million to go towards local community facilities.
“The buildings, although tall, are appropriate in this area given that it is one of our key growth areas.”
HUB Residential http://www.hubresidential.co.uk