London Mayor and Berkeley Homes to build 3,500 homes on Newham Parcelforce depot site

Kasmira Jefford
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Berkeley claims the development will be one of the biggest private rental projects in the capital

Berkeley Homes is pushing ahead with a scheme to turn a disused Parcelforce depot in east London into 3,500 homes – including one of London’s largest private rental schemes – after agreeing the terms of the deal with London mayor Boris Johnson.

Speaking at the annual MIPIM property conference in Cannes this afternoon, Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley announced it has agreed the terms with the Greater London Authority (GLA) on the 26-acre site at Stephenson Street in Newham.

The company aims to submit a planning application this autumn, with a view to starting on site in spring 2017 and completing the first homes in early 2019.

The scheme will comprise of 1,100 private rental homes, which Berkeley claims will make it one of the biggest private rental developments in the capital, as well as an equal number of affordable and private flats for sale.

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It will also have a a park, a secondary school for 1,000 pupils and a new plaza connecting the scheme to West Ham station. Around 60 per cent of the whole development will be open space, Berkeley said.

“This is an inspired design with a wonderful park which will create one of the best new communities in London. It's a place that will work for everybody, whatever your age or income. It has something for everyone,” Pidgeley said.

A shortage of homes and falling affordability is driving a surge in demand for private rental property, with 60 per cent of Londoners expected to be living in rented accommodation by 2025, according to recent forecasts by PwC.

As a result the private rental sector has been gaining increasing interest from institutional investors as an asset class, with more so-called build to rent schemes being built across the UK, particularly in London.

Figures from the British Property Federation showed there were over 14,276 build to rent units in planning, completed or under construction in the capital and 7,112 in the rest of the country at the end of October last year.

Richard Blakeway, deputy mayor for housing, land and property, said:

I am delighted that Berkeley has come forward with such a bold and innovative scheme that will create a brand new East London community on what was previously a huge chunk of disused land. As well as being among the largest new private rental sector developments in the capital, this flagship development continues the transformation of east London as part of our Olympic legacy.

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