Friday, 11 February 2011

Northern Line extension vs. Affordable Housing for Nine Elms - £58 million funding gap

Last summer, a Development Infrastructure Funding Study (DIFS) was conducted concerning the new Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea regeneration area.   It contains information about a vasty array of transport, health, education etc. requirements for the set up of the new "Nine Elms" town.  As soon as I can, I will disseminate the contents of that document, but in the meantime, chapter 12 (the section about 106 agreements) has been published by the Mayor of London and is now being consulted upon.  Although this chapter is rather dull and concerns Section 106 monies etc. the comments on it are likely to be very important to groups that are concerned with social housing and how the demographic of the new VNEB is to be constituted.

The matter of affordable housing considerably affects the levels of funding available for infrastructure.  It's recognised by the Funding Study that asking developers to provide a high percentage of affordable housing will affect the levels of contributions they can make towards the Northern Line Extension.  The government has not announced whether or how much they will make available in grants for the implementation of affordable housing, which adds confusion to the proceedings.  Chapter 12 of the Development Infrastucture Study makes it clear that Infrastucture is to be given the priority over affordable housing.  Whilst Lambeth Council would normally seek 40% or 50% affordable housing, in this instance, the study makes clear that 15% is more likely to be an adequate target:
"the 15% affordable housing option is considered the most appropriate for the majority of the opportunity area. However, the affordable housing level required by Lambeth will normally be 40%, although for sites within close proximity to the proposed station at Nine Elms and those which may not be suitable for family housing, the affordable housing level will normally be 15%."
It seems to me that this places the community in a double bind.  If anything greater than 15% affordable housing is requested, the developers may turn around and say that they cannot provide enough funding for the Northern Line Extension.  Since the Northern Line Extension is required for the whole project to go ahead (particularly the Battersea part), there appears to be no grounds for argument.  What do readers think?  Your views on the document should be sent to: with the email subject heading, "VNEB S106" no later than March 21st.

Despite contributions to be made by the developers to the intrastructure, there is still a funding gap of £58 million (assuming economic recovery), and consequently it's recognised that some infrastructure projects will have to be prioritised over others.  The document notes:
It is not yet possible to determine which projects will be prioritised. However whilst it is recognised that Northern Line Extension is vital to the success of the Opportunity Area, a number of other transport and non-transport infrastructure projects are also required to make the development successful.
This raises questions in my mind about the level of commitment to the Northern Line Extension.  What will happen if the £58 million hole cannot be plugged?

Developments within the VNEB have been excluded from having to make contributions to the Crossrail project on account of needing to contribute to other infrastructure eg. the Northern Line Extension.  Indeed, many of the developers at Elephant are objecting that they're so far away from Crossrail, they shouldn't be forced to make payments, so it seems sensible to ensure that the VNEB funding goes to the Northern Line Extension.  Developments that lie on the river itself in what is being called "Zone A" (orange area on the above diagram) will be obliged to make larger contributions than developments in "Zone B" (purple area on the above diagram.  It looks as though most of the Vauxhall developments lie in Zone B.  A contribution tariff is displayed in the full version of the Section 106/CIL study

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No brainer. Build the tube line.

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