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Applications open for cheap Land Trust homes in Mile End at St Clement’s

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:30 21 February 2016

Communitry Land Trust project at St Clement's in Mile End

Communitry Land Trust project at St Clement's in Mile End

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Applications are about to open for a chance to buy a home for a third of the London property market value at a new development in east London.

St Clement's Hospital site in Mile End RoadSt Clement's Hospital site in Mile End Road

Prices for 23 of the properties at the former St Clement’s Hospital site in the Mile End Road which are being built for the London Community Land Trust—the first in an urban area in Britain—are based on average local wage earnings in the East End rather than the full market value.

Those who buy at the reduced cost have to sell back to the trust, which retains the freehold ground for future generations, with the same ‘local wage’ criteria when they move on.

The six-acre St Clement’s site, once occupied by a Victorian workhouse and later by a psychiatric hospital which closed down in 2006, is being redeveloped to create 252 new homes, with one-in-three at the ‘affordable’ end of the market including the 23 land trust homes.

The campaign for London’s first community land trust won backing from London Mayor Boris Johnson and Tower Hamlets Council.

Mayor Boris drives first bulldozer to start St Clement's redevelopment [snapshot: Gregory Lambert]Mayor Boris drives first bulldozer to start St Clement's redevelopment [snapshot: Gregory Lambert]

“This site was one of a stock of City Hall surplus land which has now been released for house building,” Boris said when launching the building work in 2014 driving a bulldozer. “We have seen the dramatic transformation of a site laid dormant for years into a scheme that is now providing low-cost homes.”

The 23 properties are going for £130,000 for a one-bed flat, £182,000 for a two-bed and £235,000 for a three-bed.

Those applying have to meet criteria including a mortgage offer with a household income between £22,500 and £45,000 for a one-bedroom flat, for example.

The property would have to be their only home, that their current place doesn’t meet their basic needs, that they have had a connection to Tower Hamlets for more than five years and that they are involved in the community.

Spruced up... St Clement's entrance in Mile EndSpruced up... St Clement's entrance in Mile End

One applicant, Suzanne Gorman, said: “The market has priced us out of staying in the area. I love where we live—where our friends are, where the children go to school, where we work and volunteer. We really don’t want to move away.”

But if they get a trust property and later choose to sell up, they would have to apply the same formula—that the price rises only in line with average incomes in the East End, rather than open market value.

The trust’s Calum Green said: “These homes mean 23 families will no longer be priced out of the area and can stay in the East End as long as they want.

“We have every intention of building more homes like these—there are hundreds of sites across London that could provide genuinely affordable homes.”

Children from Wellington Primary get their pictures put on public show at St Clement's [photo: Andy Rose]Children from Wellington Primary get their pictures put on public show at St Clement's [photo: Andy Rose]

Children from nearby Wellington Primary school had their artwork put on public display on hoardings at St Clement’s along the main A11 Mile End Road in November, when they were invited to submit pictures around the theme “what Bow means to me”. The best were chosen by Linden Homes developers to be printed onto the hoardings.

Applications for the 23 Community Land Trust homes open March 1. The trust is also opening a community share offer with five per cent return on a crowdfunding scheme to raise £450,000 to develop new sites, including one at east London’s Olympic Park.

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