This month Havering Council launches a 1billion contract to build 3,500 homes across 12 of its current housing estates in the borough. One of these estates is The Napier House and New Plymouth House in South Hornchurch.

The Council has formed a Joint Venture partnership with a housing developer to deliver these homes over the next 15 years, although the developer has not yet been announced.

The land being used will remain in Council ownership. 4,000 homes in Havering have been bought through the ‘right to buy’ scheme and they need to be replaced. The scheme has promised to provide affordable council housing for local people.

Although out of the 3,500 homes, the majority will be available to rent – some homes will be available to purchase at ‘Low Cost Home Ownership,’ where the Council retain a share in the property and it must be sold back to the Council when the owner moves.

The Napier House and New Plymouth House tower blocks in the South Hornchurch ward are to be demolished and replaced with mixed-tenure homes.

Local Lettings Plans are being developed and will be available via the Council’s website in due course, giving details of how residents can bid for alternative accommodation and the priority they will receive. Each tenant on each estate will also receive a personal Decant Assessment Form giving details of what they need to do.

Jon Cruddas MP said: “It’s fantastic to see that local councils are investing in house building, but it is vital that we make sure it is the right kind of housing. As with all regeneration projects they must have the buy in of the local community, and existing residents should have first refusal on the new properties being built. My worry is that Havering Council are demolishing council housing and replacing it with mixed tenure, meaning that some residents might not be able to afford to return to areas that they have lived in their whole lives.”

Trevor McKeever, Nicholas West and Pat Brown Jon’s South Hornchurch Action Team commented: “Regeneration is a fine thing, but let’s take a look at Orchard Village – which has become a national example of how not to build new homes. It is crucial that any plans for regeneration are scrutinised at every level from planning, through construction, to completion. Many of the properties that are being regenerated, would be deemed not fit for human habitation under new legislation pushed through by Labour. So, the replacements should be up to scratch as our residents deserve good quality built homes.”