Paddington affordable rental housing scheme celebrated

Fri 17 January 2020, 9:09 am

An "inspiring development" was celebrated at an event sharing the work involved in creating an affordable build-to-rent housing scheme in the heart of Paddington.

Developer Willmott Dixon worked together with Westminster City Council to create homes at Dudley House, which also offers a new school with leisure facilities, a new church and shops.

Child Graddon Lewis (CGL) Architects also worked on the 22-storey development, which provides homes with intermediate rent that targets middle-earning Londoners. 

Delegates at the special event held on Wednesday, January 15, toured the building found close to Paddington Station, and were shown a variety of its studio, one and two-bedroom homes available to those living and working in Westminster.

At the event held at Paddington Works, Chris Tredget, managing director at Willmott Dixon, said  “What you’ve seen today is a template for urban growth and placemaking, and can be replicated across London – and that’s why it’s great to see so many of you from London boroughs and councils here.

“It’s great to share the knowledge and experience we have gained as a team, through what we think is an inspiring development. The development represents an exciting model for local authorities using their own development capabilities to stimulate growth and urban renewal within the community.”

He added the council "retained complete control of a very complex project with a great ambition” delivering the 840-place Marylebone Boys’ School, which spent its first four years in temporary locations, and 197 intermediate rent homes.

He added: “The level of collaboration among all our partners really makes this project stand out, from planning through to design and construction we’ve stood together to solve any problems that have come our way.”

The council is aiming to provide more than 22,000 homes by 2040, of which 35% will be affordable.

Stuart Love, chief executive of Westminster City Council, said the council is “absolutely committed to ensuring that people who want to can afford to live and work in Westminster”. He added: “Our vision is to create a city for all and having a city that is accessible for all means that we have intermediate housing that people can afford."

Barbara Brownlee, the council’s executive director for growth, planning and housing, said one of the reasons the council wanted to hold on to the development was to “control quality”. She added: “We made sure that we have built something that is completely different to the type of council housing we are used to getting. It’s a better quality, better space standards, it’s sustainable, it has different heating and cooling solutions and it’s cheaper to run and cheaper to live in.”

Mark Chamberlain, project director at Willmott Dixon, talked about the impact the Grenfell Tower fire had on the development. The fire happened during the construction of the scheme and although the cladding design and specification had already been passed by Building Regulations, Willmott Dixon undertook a further detailed review. They ensured the insulation behind the cladding was 100% non-combustible and the specified solid insulation was changed to mineral wool.

Chamberlain was part of a panel discussion where he was joined by Fergus Coleman, head of affordable housing at Westminster City Council, James Felstead, director at Child Graddon Lewis (CGL) Architects and Claire Kober, director of housing at Pinnacle Group - which manages the property. 

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