East End gets first land trust homes—and backing from Mayor candidates

London’s first community land trust homes where house prices are separated from rocketing location costs are going ahead in the East End, the Mayor of London has confirmed.

The pilot goes ahead at the former St Clement’s Hospital site in Bow which has been empty for seven years.

It will be followed by a bigger project on the Olympics site after the summer Games, Boris Johnson told Wednesday night’s London Citizens’ election assembly in Westminster.

Johnson, one of seven candidates running for mayor next Thursday (May 3), told the assembly: “We’ve voted for the first land trust in London at St Clement’s—and I will make sure we have as many as possible. We’ll certainly have one at Chobham Manor as a legacy after the 2012 Olympics.”

The first trust deal at St Clement’s is being unveiled next month, when the East London Community Land Trust, currently based at London Citizens’ Whitechapel HQ, signs up with a major national house-builder chosen for the six-acre site in the Bow Road for 250 homes.

The trust, which is likely to get around 25 of the properties, also won backing from Boris’s main rival for the mayor’s job, Ken Livingstone.

Livingstone told the Citizen’s Assembly: “There’s room for 14,000 land trust homes south of the Olympics Park down to the Thames—I want land trusts right the way through.

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“We should clean up the nightmare that’s become London’s housing crisis.”

There was support from other candidates. Brian Paddick said: “I am committed to the biggest social housing programme in a generation, using publicly-owned land.”

Jenny Jones spoke of London’s housing as “probably the most disfunctional situation in Britain.”

She added: “We’ve got to give people the tools to take ownership and responsibility for affordable housing.”

Land trusts separate property from land so families get a home for a-quarter of the London property prices. The trust retains the land and buys the property back at a fixed price if the family moves on, so it becomes available generation after generation.