Boris delay on whether St Clement’s goes to East London land trust

A decision on who gets the prestigious St Clement’s hospital site for development in London’s East End has been put back to the New Year.

Boris Johnson was expecting to announce today (Thurs) who would win the bid for the listed Victorian building and grounds in the Bow Road—which could become London’s first community land trust development.

But the Home & Communities Agency that the Mayor of London chairs, which owns the four-and-a-half acre site, wants more time to look into “the real possibility” of a community-led scheme.

Its spokesman told the Advertiser: “We have specified the land will be held in trust for the community’s benefit.

“Given the level of interest in St Clement’s shown by the community, we are extending the procurement process to further explore the possibility that some of the affordable housing is delivered by a body such as a land trust.”

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The East London Land Trust set up by London Citizens has put a scheme forward which separates prohibitive land costs from property ownership.

Buyers would own the property—but not the freehold land it stands on, which would be retained by the non-profit trust on condition that the properties could only be sold back to them at a fixed price. This brings the cost of buying a home down by as much as 75 per cent.

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But the trust’s plan for 300 new homes, a caf�, children’s pool and pulling down the walls surrounding the former workhouse and psychiatric hospital is up against rival bids from commercial developers.

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