Plans to transform Romford town centre with new homes and workspace have moved forward after Havering Council announced that it is in discussions to enter into a joint venture.
The joint venture (JV) is to redevelop the Bridge Close industrial estate, close to the centre of Romford.
The JV between the council and mixed use developer First Base will see around 840 new homes delivered alongside a mix of workspace and community amenities, as well as a bridge linking the site to nearby Romford rail station.
The announcement follows news in March 2016 that the centre of Romford had been designated a Housing Zone by the Mayor of London which will see £35m of public money invested in unlocking sites, paving the way with mixed-tenure homes and new employment opportunities and fits in with the Council’s wider vision for a changing Romford.
Other major projects taking place include a £25 million leisure centre development in Western Road set to open in Spring 2018, a £1.4 million investment in upgrading the area around Romford station prior to the commencement of new Elizabeth line train services that will connect Romford to the centre of London and Heathrow airport from 2018, and a major investment in reinvigorating Romford Market including a new Market House.
First Base own a significant proportion of land in Romford and has already been involved in a number of flagship developments in East London. These include over 1,300 residential units at East Village, Olympic Park (as part of Triathlon Homes) and a role as the delivery partner of a 62 acre mixed-use scheme at Silvertown, in the Royal Docks area.
Councillor Damian White, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing at Havering Council, said:
“This is positive and welcome news. Our potential joint venture with First Base will act as a catalyst for further investment and regeneration in Romford. We believe that First Base has a proven track record and share our vision of a new neighbourhood with well-designed buildings and easy links to public transport that supports the economic growth of Romford.”
Elliot Lipton, Managing Director of First Base, said:
“We are delighted to work in partnership with Havering Council to transform this part of Romford and bring forward these much needed homes and jobs. With enhanced transport infrastructure, this is a fantastic opportunity to work alongside Havering Council to deliver long term benefits for local people and businesses.”
First Base has established a reputation for delivering innovative buildings and places that are adaptable to the changing needs of communities and businesses. First Base has a mixed-use portfolio of projects, ranging from residential, retail to workspace, which always include place-making and sustainability at their core.
First Base has partnered with some of the world’s leading investors including: Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase & Co and Starwood Capital. The projects have been delivered with leading architects, including Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Porphyrios Associates, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris and Glenn Howells.
First Base’s best-known projects are:
• Silvertown, where First Base is leading a consortium developing a 62-acre mixed use development in London’s Royal Dock. With a GDV of £3.5bn, Silvertown includes 5 million square feet of commercial and brand space and 3,000 new homes.
• KX Nido, a £200m mixed use development at London’s Kings Cross including student accommodation, offices, retail and affordable housing.
• East Village, Stratford, where First Base is managing a £300 million portfolio of homes that is a key element of the 2012 Olympic Legacy.
First Base is owned by its directors, based in Central London and was founded in 2002.
The Bridge Close Development
In December 2015 the Mayor of London invited Havering Council to submit a proposal for Romford to be awarded Housing Zone status. It was announced in March 2016 that Romford would be one of 11 new Housing Zones across London. Bridge Close had already been allocated as a key site for residential development in the Romford Area Action Plan 2008 and the redevelopment of this site is also reflected in the Romford Development Framework agreed by Havering Council’s Cabinet in July 2015.
Housing Zones will bring accelerated housing development to areas across London with high potential for growth. The previous Mayor of London and the government has made available £600m to support the construction of 75,000 homes across 31 Housing Zones across London. The building of homes in these areas will be supported by a range of planning and financial measures. All Housing Zones will be set up by an agreement which shares the duty of building these homes between partners. This will ensure the numbers of planned new homes are built.