Islington Council has launched 47 new council homes at King Square Estate near Goswell Road in Bunhill, marking the completion of phase one of a major project on the estate.
The 47 flats are all available for social rent and are rated highly energy efficient. 29 flats are fully wheelchair accessible, and are designed to house people with specific needs, such as people with disabilities, residents over 55 or people with mobility issues.
Under our local lettings policy, people from the local estate are given priority for new council homes, together with people with specific a housing requirements, such as wheelchair users.
The completed work also included improvements to the estate, including better landscaping, a new food growing area and a secure community garden. The new homes were launched at a celebration with local residents yesterday, November 22.
The 47 flats are the first to be delivered in a major home building project in King Square Estate – the second phase of work, which has already begun, will deliver an additional 93 new homes, improvements to the landscaping, communal spaces on the estate and a new community facility. All of the homes on the estate will also be linked to the Bunhill district heating network by the project’s completion, which will bring cheaper heating for all residents.
Young people from the local area also benefited from the home-building project through an apprenticeship scheme run by Islington Council’s contractor, Higgins Construction. As with all the council’s construction contracts, the council made it a condition of work on the scheme that the contractor offered apprenticeships from the local area as well as opportunities for local businesses where possible.
Cllr Claudia Webbe, Bunhill ward councillor and chair of the King Square project steering group, said: “With 47 flats delivered and another 93 on the way, we have created high quality local homes for local people; this project will help many people move into a council flat for the first time, and other households to move out of badly overcrowded accommodation.
“We have also created an ‘Independent Living’ Block to help many older residents to downsize and have a more sustainable future on the estate they have always known.
“This has been a fantastic, community-led programme, with residents of the estate being involved from the outset from the initial concept ideas, outline drawings and designs through to the creation of lifetime homes.
“With an already densely populated estate winning the support of existing residents should never be underestimated.
“We owe a huge thanks to local people for their patience, support, direction and feedback throughout this project.
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development said: “All residents of this estate are benefitting from the scheme, with improved green spaces, a new growing area and a newly refurbished nursery coming soon.
“We have also been privileged to assist young people from this estate secure their future in a new trade, with the apprenticeship scheme attached to this project.”
Steve Leakey, Managing Director of Higgins Construction said: “Today’s event marks a significant stage in the regeneration of the King Square estate. King Square is one of the largest regeneration projects Islington Council has undertaken and we are proud to be part of it and what has been achieved to date.
“We are also delighted to have been appointed as contractor on the second phase.
“Higgins Construction is not just a construction company. We are a business that is committed to building better, stronger, safer and more sustainable communities. We have been working closely with London Borough of Islington and local colleges and agencies to assist local labour and trainees into construction opportunities.”
Islington is committed to 2,000 new affordable homes between 2015 and 2019, including 500 new council homes. For more about new council housing in Islington see www.islington.gov.uk/housing/housing-development-and-involvement/new-building.
Notes to Editor:
- Work on phase one of the King Square estate project, which delivered 47 flats, began in January 2016 and was completed in November 2017. Work on phase 2, which will provide an additional 93 flats, began in June 2017 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
- The 47 flats delivered in phase one of the King Square estate project were designed by award winning local architects, Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE).
- The names of the new Phase 1 housing blocks have been chosen by resident vote, and are as follows:
- Eva Martin Court: named after the First woman mayor of Finsbury 1936-37. This block will be for Independent Living – for residents who are over 55 or who have mobility issues.
- Tardrew House: named after one of the original Architects of the King Square estate (Emberton, Franck and Tardrew were commissioned by Finsbury Borough Council in 1959).
- The existing King Square estate houses approximately 500 residents, and is situated in Bunhill ward, next to Moreland Primary School.