John Lewis comes under fire for lack of affordable housing in first build-to-rent scheme
John Lewis has faced pushback over its first build-to-rent development after the leader of Ealing council accused the firm of “bullying” and raised concerns about the lack of affordable homes for locals in the area.
Peter Mason, leader of Ealing council, took to Twitter to slam the retail group about the possibility of it not delivering on its promise of making 35 per cent of the homes in its new 19-storey apartment scheme affordable, as the west London suburb becomes oversaturated in private rental builds.
“Ealing needs genuinely affordable housing, above all, and above all other types of housing,” the tweet read.
He continued: “We need expensive homes for sale less than we need homes for the 11,000 families on our housing waiting list. But as ever, 97 per cent of all homes built in Ealing are built by the private sector.”
Moreover, Mason was concerned about the height of the towers the retail group plans to build. The Labour council’s guidance was to build an up to 13-storey building; however, John Lewis is now wanting to build as high as 19 storeys.
He tweeted: “At the moment it feels like a big institution are trying to twist arms & bully through a scheme that could be far better, through a precarious planning process using the ever present threat of an appeal.”
The grand plans to build 430 new homes above a Waitrose supermarket are already “months behind schedule” according to local residents, The Times reports.
John Lewis has already received pushback from campaign group Stop The Towers, which slammed the launch of the residential building.
Speaking to The Times, Chris Harris, director of property at John Lewis, played down the dispute, stating that there was “always a bit of argy-bargy” in high profile developments.
Furthermore, the chief said that there was a “trade-off” between the amount of affordable apartments John Lewis would be able to offer at discounted rents and the required height of the buildings.
A John Lewis Partnership spokesperson told City A.M. that the group has given a “great deal” of thought to the design and the latest consultation, which will take place later this year, is another important step in “continuing our conversation with the council and local people in helping to shape our plans”.
Subject to planning approval the homes will be open for first residents to take occupancy from late 2027/28.