First HCA funding breaks ground in Hackney

CONSTRUCTION work has begun at one of London’s biggest, flagship regeneration projects. The Woodberry Down scheme in Hackney is one of the first to receive new Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) funding.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, broke the ground during a ceremony at Woodberry Down on Thursday, 12 March, attended by 150 residents and key stakeholders.

Work is now under way on the crucial first site to deliver 117 homes to re-house existing residents. Woodberry Down is one of the first schemes to benefit from funding provided by the new HCA, with £16 million allocated to kickstart development. The first phase of the scheme will be built by Berkeley Homes (Capital) Plc, who is part of The Berkeley Group - one of the South East’s biggest urban regenerators.

Woodberry Down is one of London’s most high-profile regeneration projects, and is set to provide more than 4,500 new homes of all tenures in one of London’s prime development locations.

The scheme has been recognised by the Government as a National Demonstration Project for the Mixed Communities Initiative, for other schemes to learn from.

Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, said: “This is an important step for Woodberry Down, and another positive sign that it’s all taking shape. Woodberry Down is about more than high-quality building design, it is about the communities that live here, and realising the benefits of these new homes for everyone.”

Managing Director of The Berkeley Group, Tony Pidgley, said: “Urban regeneration is key to Berkeley Homes and we are pleased that our work here at Woodberry Down with Hackney Council is advancing. In a climate where many projects are being mothballed or scrapped altogether, it is important that work continues to ensure social housing standards are improved and that the supply of private homes is maintained.”

Stephen Oakes, London Regional Director at the HCA said: “The HCA’s funding means this vital regeneration project can forge ahead and deliver the homes and facilities that local residents deserve. This is part of our programme to kick start development activity in London and improve the quality and affordability of housing. It’s great to see that Woodberry Down is one of the very first beneficiaries of the HCA’s support.”

Peter Naughton, Chair of the Woodberry Down Community Organisation, said: “We welcome the progress on the scheme, now lets start building the community.”

Construction on the first site of the initial phase began on 12 March, and is expected to be completed late next year. The site will also include the construction of a new community centre for Woodberry Down, to replace an existing facility.

Notes for editors

The HCA is the single, national housing and regeneration agency for England, bringing together the development and regeneration expertise of English Partnerships, investment functions of the Housing Corporation, and the Academy for Sustainable Communities, with major delivery programmes of Communities and Local Government.

Its role is to create opportunity for people to live in high quality, sustainable places, and provides funding for affordable housing, bringing land back into productive use, and improving quality of life by raising standards for the physical and social environment.

During the next three financial years the HCA controls a budget of £17.3bn.

Woodberry Down
The Woodberry Down regeneration area is located in the northernmost part of the London Borough of Hackney. Hackney Homes, on behalf of Hackney Council, has established the Woodberry Down Regeneration Team (WDRT) to take forward the regeneration of the area. The team covers all aspects of the area’s regeneration to ensure that the goal of delivering a world-class development with the necessary infrastructure to support and sustain a mixed community is achieved.

Woodberry Down is one of two London schemes to be a National Demonstration Project for the Homes and Communities Agency Mixed Communities Initiative. The scheme will deliver over 4,500 new homes of mixed tenure and a range of new community facilities including a community centre, health centre, business centre, new Academy, extended primary school, retail and commercial opportunities.

The WDRT runs in partnership with key local stakeholders the Woodberry Works Construction Training Centre which provides training and job opportunities for local residents to work in construction in the area site.

Hackney Homes and Hackney Council announced on 11 March, 2009, that Genesis Housing Group has been selected as the preferred bidder to work in partnership with the Council and a developer to take forward the Woodberry Down regeneration scheme.