The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs donned his hard hat and protective clothing to see the latest stage of Tower Hamlets’ Ocean Estate redevelopment, which is making way for 225 much needed new homes.
This phase will see the demolition of three outdated and poorly designed blocks (Allonby, Channel and Studland Houses) to be replaced by 225 new homes.
More than half of the new homes (121 properties) will be available for affordable rent and shared ownership.
The council has already invested £8,650,000, alongside £3,895,000 from the Mayor of London.
Mayor Biggs was joined by representatives from the council’s key development partners; Jacqui Esimaje-Heath, from East Thames Housing Association and Steve Leakey, from Higgins Construction.
Between 2009 and 2013, more than £220 million has been invested in the Ocean Estate in Stepney.
So far 1,200 existing council homes have been extensively refurbished. More than 800 homes have had new kitchens and bathrooms installed, and all have benefited from new windows and other improvements to the exterior of the buildings.
More than 800 new homes have already been built – offering new homes for social rent, shared ownership and private sale. Half of these (395) are affordable, offering shared ownership opportunities to help first time buyers (100), as well as rented homes for those on the council’s housing waiting list (295).
New community facilities have also been provided, including a community centre with GP and housing services and space for community groups. Play areas and ball courts are just a few of the many features that have also been added.
There have also many opportunities for residents to secure employment. More than 75 people have been offered construction related jobs, and hundreds of residents have worked on the project.
One particular success has been the Construct Your Career programme which has seen 54 residents graduate with the skills to work in the construction industry. The majority (more than 30) of these now have permanent jobs in the industry.
Speaking after his visit to the Ocean Estate, Mayor Biggs said: “It’s always great to get on site and see for myself how the transformation of the Ocean Estate is providing real and long lasting improvements for both existing and future new residents to the area.
“The chronic shortage of good quality and affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges we face, so we will continue to do all we can to encourage the development of major housing schemes such as this one.”
Cllr Sirajul Islam, deputy mayor and cabinet member for Housing said: “From the outset the local community have been at the heart of plans to redevelop the Ocean Estate This is particularly important when the scheme is creating new homes and facilities within an already well-established community.
“This next stage of the development will further enhance the dramatic transformation of the Estate and create a community fit for future generations.”
Jacqui Esimaje-Heath, East Thames Director of Land and Business Development said: “The regenerated Ocean Estate has already won several accolades and was recently named by the Mayor as the best new place to live in London. We’re looking forward to working with Tower Hamlets Council to continue the good work and deliver this next phase of high quality and genuinely affordable homes.”
Steve Leaky, Managing Director of Higgins Construction said “We are proud to be part of such an important regeneration project in Tower Hamlets. The redevelopment of Ocean Estate will create a new community where people will want to live, work, play, learn and be proud to be part of.”
Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor of London (Housing and Land) added: “I am proud that we are helping to fund this development through the Mayor’s Housing Covenant, which is providing thousands of much-needed homes in Tower Hamlets and across London.”