From Right-to-Buy to Hackney Living Rent – new council-funded homes near completion

Teachers and NHS workers will be among those to move into the new Hackney Living Rent homes delivered through a £6 million Council grant.

Hackney Council has partnered with the borough’s largest social housing provider, Peabody, to build 46 genuinely affordable homes across three projects. This follows a £6 million Council grant which recycles the money received from homes sold under the government’s Right to Buy policy to help housing associations make their contribution to help tackle the borough’s housing crisis.

Councillor Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Delivery, Inclusive Economy and Regeneration, and Peabody visited the 46 new homes in the borough. All of the 12 new homes at Morpeth Road, near Victoria Park, have been prioritised for local key workers at Hackney Living Rent rates, capped at just a third of median local household incomes.

A further 34 homes across two other new Peabody developments at Powell Road in Clapton and the Pembury Estate in Hackney Central will be available for genuinely affordable social rent or for homeownership.

On the Pembury Estate, 13 new flats for social rent have been built on the site of the old community centre and nursery, both having been relocated to Atkins Square in a purpose-built space. 

The £6 million grant is the largest to date from a fund set up by the Council in 2017 to use the money received from Council homes that had been bought under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme. The fund was designed to help housing associations build more homes for social rent or Hackney Living Rent instead of the cash being handed back to the government.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Delivery, Inclusive Economy and Regeneration

Whilst it was welcome news to see the recent policy changes allowing Council’s to keep 100% of their Right to Buy receipts for a short period, this is still not nearly enough to build the affordable homes that are needed in Hackney. 

Even with such a shortfall we have ensured that the Council will use every penny it receives through Right to Buy to help deliver our ambitions to build 1,000 new Council homes by 2026. Despite all the challenges stacked up against us, the Council is working with partners like Peabody, to deliver on this new homes commitment and through every means possible.  

We should be proud of Hackney’s reputation as an award-winning builder of Council houses. But as the demand for housing grows and the cost of living crisis hits, there’s a need to do even more to ensure as many as possible of the homes the Council builds are affordable and high quality.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Delivery, Inclusive Economy and Regeneration

Now more than ever, Londoners are feeling the pinch of rising market rents and high living costs. So, it’s important to us that we support people where we can.

Many more affordable homes are needed for Hackney. But our ongoing partnership with Hackney Council will help nearly 50 households, including much-valued keyworkers, find a home where they can thrive at a price they can afford.

We know how difficult it is to fund social homes, and we’re really pleased to continue our investment in Hackney’s communities.

James McMylor, Managing Director, London North at Peabody

While recent policy changes mean councils will be allowed to keep 100% of the income from Right to Buy until 2024 following pressure from Hackney Council and others, the Council will continue to lobby for this change to be made permanently.

In the meantime, the Council has committed to funding a further 100 new social rent homes through Right to Buy receipts, complementing its own council housing drive and ambitions to create 1,000 new social rented homes in the borough by 2026.

The fund has already helped housing associations deliver additional social housing in Dalston and Hackney Central