Meridian Water 'back on track'

Enfield Council’s Cabinet last night agreed in principle a series of decisions that, subject to call-in, set out a clear way forward for the flagship Meridian Water development.

  • Enfield Council’s Cabinet sets a clear direction for accelerated delivery of Meridian Water with Council control
  • Development partners will be sought for the first two housing sites, delivering nearly 1,000 new homes, with procurement for the site around the new train station to begin immediately after the summer through the GLA’s London Development Panel
  • A development partner will also be sought for the first major employment site, with a new employment strategy endorsed to secure jobs and meanwhile uses of Council-owned land
  • The bid for £120 million of government funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be progressed to connect all parts of Meridian Water to the new train station and improve the frequency of train services
  • Further land acquisition has also been agreed

The decisions mark the end of the procurement process for a single ‘Master Developer’, in favour of the Council taking the lead responsibility for setting strategies, working up the masterplan and deciding the optimal phasing plan for delivery.

Speaking about the decisions, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council, said:

“Today marks a watershed moment in the delivery of Meridian Water.

“Meridian Water is back on track and the way we are delivering is genuinely new for a local authority.

“Going forward we will be in control and we will be the custodians of the place Meridian Water will become; investing council money and resources to ensure that local people are the principle beneficiaries of the new homes and jobs that will be created.

“We will select development and other partners to work with the Council to bring forward specific parts of the regeneration, whether that is for housing delivery, new employment spaces or meanwhile uses, and we will hold the vision for Meridian Water and oversee its delivery.

“I am pleased to say that we are also ready to accelerate delivery and will bring forward the first housing site, which will see hundreds of private and affordable homes built around the new train station. A second housing site and a site for a major employment hub will then follow.

“Meanwhile, we are progressing our detailed business case for the Housing Infrastructure Fund which, if secured in full, will see £120 million of government funding to connect all parts of Meridian Water to the new train station and improve the frequency of train services.

“We are also working on a dedicated employment strategy which will bring high quality jobs, life and some exciting uses to Meridian Water, very early in the development.

“The Cabinet and I are absolutely determined to create a legacy to be proud of in the borough, whilst also delivering a return on the Council’s investment, and I look forward to making further announcements as we rapidly secure real benefits from the Meridian Water regeneration.”

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, James Murray, said:

“Meridian Water is one of the most important regeneration projects in London, with the potential to provide thousands of affordable homes and job opportunities for local people. I am pleased that the Council Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, has expressed her commitment to delivering much needed new and genuinely affordable homes.

“I welcome the new direction Enfield Council has set out for how these benefits will be realised, with direct control and investment by the local authority. We are working, on behalf of the Council, to secure government funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for Meridian Water, and with the new train station opening in May 2019, the future looks very promising.”

Enfield Council’s vision is to make Meridian Water and the wider area a new district in London where people want to live, work and visit, and the Council has set itself eight principles to guide how it plans for and delivers the project:

  1. Meridian Water will prioritise the benefits for local people and reduce inequality in the Borough
  2. Meridian Water will create a thriving new economy for the Lee Valley
  3. Meridian Water will be a memorable place bursting with character, bringing the best out of the existing opportunities
  4. Meridian Water will offer a choice of affordable homes for local people
  5. Meridian Water will make the planet better and create new opportunities for growth as a result
  6. Meridian Water will be a vibrant mixed-use environment, incorporating liveable places to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of ability, income, age and cultural background
  7. Meridian Water will be designed to prioritise walking and cycling by choice - almost car free
  8. Meridian Water will proactively engage and empower communities and continue to grow by responding to the changing needs of local people and society

The new Meridian Water Station will open in May 2019, unlocking the area for commuters, taking passengers south to Stratford London and London Liverpool Street and north to Stansted and Cambridge. Train connections from Meridian Water are just 17 minutes direct to Stratford London, 24 minutes to London Liverpool Street, 22 minutes to London City Airport and 43 minutes to Heathrow.

Following the Cabinet decisions, three development sites are being brought forward, with the first site being offered via the GLA’s London Development Panel immediately after the summer. This will allow for a quick procurement process open to all the organisations and joint ventures who secured a place on the panel.

Importantly, these sites will be offered on the basis of a Development Agreement rather than a sale of the land, allowing the Council to retain control, for example to ensure the quality of design and build, and prioritise sales of new homes to local people first.

* Site 1 is at Willoughby Lane, which has an outline planning consent in place for 725 homes. The site is currently being remediated by the Council and is adjacent to the new Meridian Water Station which opens in May 2019.

* Site 2 is the Leeside Road Gas Holder site. This site will be included in an outline planning application for the wider area, which the Council is bringing forward, linked with the Council’s bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will see workspace on the lower floors with around 200 affordable homes above.

* Site 3 is around 2-3 acres alongside the North Circular where Harbet Road meets Argon Road, which would be suitable for a new employment hub, creating around 900 new jobs.

The Cabinet also endorsed the work programmes to secure £120m of funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which has already been short-listed by Homes England. This funding, if secured in full, will deliver:

* An increase in train services at the new station, initially to a minimum of four trains per hour but with the capacity for this to increase to six trains per hour.

* A new central spine road – known as The Causeway – which will link the whole of Meridian Water to the new train station. These works also include flood alleviation measures; three new bridges over Pymmes Brook and the Lee Navigation; pipe works for the Council-owned energy company energetik; new cycle and pedestrian links and junctions; and land remediation to support the early delivery of homes.

Together, these measures will increase access to Meridian Water, unlock currently landlocked and inaccessible parcels of land, attract inward investment, increase land values and facilitate the levels of new homes and jobs desired by the Council at Meridian Water.

Finally, the Cabinet also endorsed the principles of a major new Employment Strategy for Meridian Water, which will now be developed further.

Speaking about the potential for new jobs at Meridian Water, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council, said:

“We have seen major occupiers recently take space at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Battersea Power Station and White City and our long-term strategy includes attracting strategic occupiers to relocate to Meridian Water, where we have the potential to offer the attributes required by growth sectors in a better location than many parts of London.

“The scale of the Council’s control, vacant land and existing industrial buildings offers a significant opportunity for the Council to start to deliver on our employment vision from the outset by creating the right conditions for existing and new enterprises to be established, nurtured and grown rather than waiting for the long-term development.

“We are therefore developing a series of offers across our land ownership at Meridian Water, including bringing in some exciting meanwhile uses, the development of a cluster for fashion manufacturing and the creation of London’s largest open workspace for makers, creators and artists.”

As part of this approach, a further land acquisition was approved at 4 Anthony Way, part of which is occupied by Building Bloqs who are potential partners of the Council for the open workshop.

Since April 2014, the Council has acquired 87 acres (35 hectares) of land at Meridian Water. It currently owns 64% of all developable land within the red line boundary of the site and has to date committed £157m to land acquisition.

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