Preferred bidder for 1,000-home Alton estate regeneration
Published: Tuesday 21st March 17
Redrow plc, a FTSE 250 company and one of the UK's leading home builders, is the preferred bidder for the regeneration of Wandsworth Council’s Alton estate, following an EU-compliant procurement process.
A competition was launched in March 2016 to find a development partner to replace post-war council housing in parts of the 17 acre Alton estate, in Roehampton, which will see the delivery of a new library and retail area twice the size of existing provision; a new health centre and children’s centre; a new park and around 1,000 private and affordable new homes. All planned to be created over the next ten years.
Council tenants and owner-occupiers are guaranteed a newly-built home on their estate, which features several heritage-listed housing blocks and Victorian manor houses which border Richmond Park.
As part of the proposals, Redrow will aim to provide local residents with jobs, training and apprenticeships as a condition of being appointed. Construction is only one aspect of the opportunities expected to be available through the regeneration, other roles may include security, site office administration, decorating and more through Work Match, the council’s employment brokerage.
The regeneration of the Alton estate is a key priority for the council as part of its Aspirations programme to improve life chances in the borough, through new housing, employment and training initiatives, with access to sport and cultural activities.
Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, is also a member of the Government's Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel, and the Mayor of London's Homes for Londoners Board. He said: “We had some difficult decisions to make, but we are now off the starting blocks with this exciting redevelopment which has great potential and will deliver the homes that Wandsworth needs.
“With our guarantees of newly-built homes on the estate for council tenants and owner-occupiers, to keep communities together, and opportunities offered by our Aspirations programme, Alton will set a new standard for other regeneration projects in London to follow.”
John Tutte, Chief Executive Officer at Redrow, said: “We are very pleased to have been named the preferred bidder for the regeneration of the Alton estate.
“It is the first step in what will be a long, but rewarding journey for everyone connected to the Roehampton community.
“Having worked on a number of regeneration projects of this scale in the past, including with Manchester City Council, Plymouth City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, we fully understand the importance of placing local people at the heart of the process, which includes providing employment and apprenticeship opportunities to the local area.
“Collectively, we now have an exciting opportunity to create a new, sustainable community in the Alton which will deliver considerable benefits to both existing and future generations.”
Cllr Peter Carpenter, who represents Roehampton and Putney Heath ward, said: "As ward councillors all three of us are very supportive of this regeneration, and we think it's very important that it goes forward. We would also want the development partner to be comprehensively engaged with the community in terms of social regeneration. We will, however, continue to hold the council to account, to make sure that resident get the best possible outcome."
Left to right: Cllr Peter Carpenter; Cllr Steffi Sutters; Cllr Jeremy Ambache;
Cllr Ravi Govindia; Cllr Sue McKinney; Cllr Paul Ellis.
The recommendation to appoint Redrow was approved on 23 January 2017, by the council’s Executive, following discussion and approval during the preceding week by the cross-party Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The Alton estate regeneration project, subject to a forthcoming planning application and detailed consultation, includes:
Around 1,000 new homes will be created including the re-provision of 158 council homes for secure tenants, and the construction of at least 30 new council homes, while 68 existing owner-occupiers will also be provided with a new home on the estate. Furthermore, 30 heritage-listed sheltered housing bungalows, which have featured in the film Fahrenheit 451, will be renovated to ensure they meet modern space standards.
Health and children’s centre:
A new health and family-focussed community centre will be built at Portswood Place, opposite the reconfigured and redesigned Downshire Field. The new highly quality community facilities will include a children’s centre, nursery, medical primary care centre, pharmacy, and a local youth charity.
A new community pavilion will sit within the Capability Brown landscape, forming part of the 5500m² of D1 community floor space currently proposed. It will create a focal point for existing and new community groups and events, and will include a flexible general purpose meeting hall, a group meeting rooms, and catering facilities. A large external terrace, opposite new adventure areas and upgraded play provision within Downshire Field, will enable activities; exercise sessions, community events and classes to expand from the interior out into the green setting.
A new community library and learning centre will increase services currently provided, including individually-designed children’s and adults’ libraries, alongside a state of the art IT hub and community café. A large and accessible community hall will provide a central location for community groups, learning services and events, and a gallery space will offer facilities for local arts groups.
Office and retail:
The new development will include up to 5000m² of A1 – A4 retail space, doubling the size of current provision. Proposals will also aim to deliver new and dedicated B1 workspace along with new offices for local housing management, youth clubs and related services.
Transport and connectivity:
Proposals will create a pedestrian and cycle-friendly environment, promoting access to Richmond Park and nearby Barnes railway station. Improvements to local bus routes, increasing transportation links, will also be explored.
The next step is for the council and Redrow to devise a demolition and construction schedule prior to undertaking extensive public consultation on detailed designs for the regeneration project, before applying for planning permission. To enable those in later stages to move straight into their newly-built homes, the site of Sherwood Lodge, off Bessborough Road, will be redeveloped to rehouse residents in the regeneration’s first phase.
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