Proposals for the demolition of the 1930s New Era Estate in the London Borough of Hackney have been registered with the local council for detailed planning consent.
The inter-war housing estate in the east London borough is compromises of 96 self-contained dwellings and 12 commercial units. Whilst the estate comprises 100% market housing, many of the existing original tenants have benefited from the estate being under-rented for many years.
The previous landowner U.S.-based investment fund Westbrook Partners sought to increase the rents, which then resulted in protests by The New Era Tenants’ Association.
After Russell Brand joined the protests in 2014, footage of his clash with a television reporter at a 10 Downing Street demonstration in Westminster went viral on YouTube, bringing the issue to greater public notice. A petition raised 350,000 signatures in support of the residents, and Hackney Council became involved in negotiations with Westbrook Partners.
Designs prepared by appointed project architects Allies & Morrison, propose the entire demolition of the estate and construction of buildings ranging from 3 to 14 storeys in height containing 199 residential units or 103 net-net including those that will be demolished to facilitate the new scheme and some commercial floorspace at the ground level to replace what is set to be lost.
In the meantime, existing residents are being moved to the critically acclaimed 333 Kingsland Road, to enable demolition to proceed if approved. All residents will be able to exercise the right to return.
Of the new homes proposed all of them will be for rent, with 35% being for intermediate affordable rented housing, in accordance with Dolphin Living’s “personalised rents policy. The policy launched in 2016, gives residents a supposed choice in how much rent they pay in the future by giving them the option of either signing up for a new personalised rent scheme, based on annual household income or remaining on a standard rent (a fixed annual rent increase of CPI inflation plus 4.5%).
The policy uses research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation into living costs to provide a formula upon which to calculate how much rent those tenants who choose to opt in will pay. This will effectively involve a means test on a household’s annual income to calculate how much rent they can afford to pay. To avoid large increases for higher earners in any one year, all rent increases will be limited to a maximum of CPI inflation plus 4.5 until such time as the target personalised rent for that household has been reached.
Improvements to the current estate include a resident’s exclusive landscaped courtyard, in contrast to a resident’s car park as well as and balcony for every household that moves into the new scheme.
This is alongside it being compliant with modern building standards such as disability access and secure entrances to the residental communal areas.