Housing agency plumps for land trust for St Clement’s in Mile End

London is to get its first urban community land trust, Mayor Boris Johnson’s office has confirmed today.

The former St Clement’s hospital on six acres of prime land in London’s East End, which has been derelict for six years, is to be redeveloped “with the freehold of the site held in trust for the local community.”

That’s the decision reached behind closed doors last night at the Housing & Community Agency’s London board meeting chaired by the Mayor.

It sets up a trust for guaranteed low-cost homes on at least part of the site at the beginning of the Bow Road, The Docklands & East London Advertiser has learned.

A spokesman from the Mayor’s Office at City Hall revealed: “The London Board approved the selection of a preferred bidder for the redevelopment of the former St Clement’s in Mile End and confirmed that it will incorporate London’s first urban community land trust.

“With the freehold of the site held in trust for the local community, we can ensure full participation from the local community in the redevelopment proposals.”

The land trust scheme was part of Boris Johnson’s election manifesto for his first term, which is up in May.

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The high cost of land would be separate from the property built on it to reduce housing costs by three-quarters. Anyone buying a home would have to sell it back to the trust if they moved on, so the low cost would be passed on to future first-time buyers.

A bid had been put in by the East London Community Land Trust, believed to be up against commercial rival bids.

But the name of the housing agency’s “preferred partner” hasn’t been disclosed—that’s to be announced at a later stage.

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