Developer offered cheaper land purchase price for Leyton development, reports Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter
The amount a developer will pay Waltham Forest Council for the land where the borough’s largest-ever housing scheme will be built has been slashed by £6.9million.
The council’s leadership agreed last week to offer a “deed of variation” to its deal with developer Taylor Wimpey for building the ‘Coronation Square’ scheme on the site of the Score Centre in Leyton.
The £190m regeneration project will see 750 new homes built and was granted planning permission in April last year.
But last year Taylor Wimpey warned that “unforeseen costs” from the pandemic, Brexit and new fire regulations could “significantly” delay construction work, unless the council agreed to renegotiate.
In January, the cabinet agreed to a discount on the land price and to purchase all 1,762 square metres of commercial space being built to help “de-risk” the scheme for Taylor Wimpey.
The exact amounts involved had not at that time been revealed, but a report prepared for a cabinet meeting last month showed that the discount, plus the cost to the council of purchasing the commercial space, will lower the land cost for Taylor Wimpey from £30.4m to around £23.5m.
As part of the deal the developer will increase its Section 106 contribution – statutory payments made to the council for investing in community infrastructure – from £1.1m to £4m.
The report noted that, though the council could decide not to agree the renegotiated terms, this would mean “the Coronation Square development would not be delivered”.
It adds: “There is clear ambition for the council to deliver this key strategic regeneration scheme in the borough.
“By refusing to agree [the new deal], the significant social, economic and environmental benefits including new homes… would not be delivered.”
The project will include five flat blocks, the tallest 18 storeys; a new GP, leisure centre, nursery and civic square; commercial space; plus a heating network for the surrounding area.
Half of the 750 homes will be affordable, although Cllr Marie Pye (Lab, Leytonstone), who sits on the planning committee, noted in March last year that the majority of these will be more expensive “shared ownership” homes, rather than low-cost rent.
Other changes were made to the deal with Taylor Wimpey, including removing its ability to “trigger a future review of the scheme viability” if expected profits decrease again.
If the developer seeks to add more homes to the scheme at a later date, the council will charge £179,000 for every additional home.
Construction is expected to start on the site during May and to finish by 2027.