Minister for Housing at Woodberry Down

HACKNEY’S groundbreaking £1 billion Woodberry Down regeneration scheme welcomed a very special guest last week at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Conference, in Harrogate.

Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Housing, visited Woodberry Down’s stand for the latest news from the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) Mixed Communities National Demonstration Project.

She met with Robin Smith, Woodberry Down Programme Director, and Cllr Jamie Carswell, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, who presented an overview to delegates at the 17-19 June conference.

Woodberry Down is a self-funding project set to provide more than 4,500 new mixed-tenure homes, and is already leading the regeneration field in a number of ways:

•playing a leading role in the Future of London Major Projects Delivery Group, which held its inaugural meeting on 3 December last year at CLG, hosted by Baroness Andrews. The group provides a forum for large scale regeneration projects in London to share best practice and to have a combined voice to lobby central government. Their combined masterplans equate to over 110,000 new homes, over 1,200 hectares, and with a capital spend of £30 billion – this year’s Future of London Regeneration Conference takes place on 21 October at the prestigious Church House in Deans Yard, Westminster, and is spread across five rooms of conference, exhibition, workshop and speed-networking spaces

•Woodberry Works - a training scheme offering local people a City and Guilds Level 1 qualification in construction, and the chance to work on-site as well as bespoke courses for women and Orthodox Jewish residents, to assist local people to get back into the work place. The first intake of trainees graduated on 21 May

•the French government has twice visited Woodberry Down during the past year to learn more about the cost-neutral approach to the project, community cohesion plans, and training and employment opportunities – representatives from the governments of Switzerland and Germany have also attended

The project will see the demolition of all the existing 2,000 homes, and its Masterplan, by Shepheard Epstein Hunter, and approved by the planning authority last September, also provides for a brand new social infrastructure of community facilities and open space.

Berkeley Homes has been selected as the developer for the first phase of the project which will see a mixed tenure development of 1,250 new homes in an investment worth over £250 million.

Cllr Carswell said: “This is one of the ground breaking urban regeneration programmes in Europe and is at the forefront of cutting edge urban regeneration thinking.

“I am proud that both Woodberry Down and Hackney is transforming in this way, and that it commands interest from the government here and also from abroad.”