Leytonstone News

Developer rebuilding Leytonstone estate asks for more money from council

It appears the current plan is to increase the number of homes on the estate from 258 to 634
By Victoria Munro

Avenue Road Estate in Leytonstone (credit: Patrick Dowse)
Avenue Road Estate in Leytonstone (credit: Patrick Dowse)

The developer rebuilding a Leytonstone estate is requesting more money from Waltham Forest Council due to “unanticipated” economic change threatening its profits.

The regeneration of Avenue Road Estate, currently 258 mostly council flats in four blocks, was meant to begin this month but has been delayed until at least December.

While a planning application has not yet been submitted, a report prepared for council leaders suggests the current plan is to build 634 homes, rebuilding the existing council flats and adding hundreds of new homes for sale or rent.

Bellway signed an agreement with the council last September but, in June, warned it would “face a fundamental challenge” to delivery if it sticks to its original “financial model”. 

In order to “reflect the increase in costs”, it is asking the council for a number of adjustments to the agreement, including paying more for each council flat it rebuilds.

The report prepared for the council’s cabinet reads: “The challenge has arisen due to the significant change in the economic environment… specifically relating to build cost inflation, which has reached unanticipated levels.”

However, the report adds that the “revised total” the council would pay if it agrees to the changes is still within the scheme’s overall budget and “remains the most economically advantageous”.

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The changes would also give the council the option to buy an additional 54 flats for use as council homes.

Furthermore, if the scheme still doesn’t materialise, the council would be able to charge Bellway half of the “planning costs incurred” between June and September.

The report adds: “Bellway have restated their commitment to the Avenue Road Regeneration and intend to work closely with the council to meet the shared objective of delivering new affordable homes for residents, a commercially viable scheme and best value to the council.”

The estate was built in the early 1960s using concrete panels and the council has previously stated the flats “don’t meet the modern standards [it] would expect to provide”.

The rebuild is almost overwhelmingly supported by residents who took part in a ballot last year, with only 15 people voting against.

However, this is now the third time the council has been forced to renegotiate a large scheme with the developer after it complained of rising costs.

In May last year, the council agreed to give developer Countryside a £6.9million discount on the price of buying the Score Centre site in Leyton for a project to build 750 new homes.

And, in July this year, Countryside won permission to squeeze another 150 new flats onto the Marlowe Road Estate in Walthamstow.

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