A mould-breaking private finance initiative social housing scheme is set to trigger the wide-scale regeneration of a previously neglected area of East London. Team insiders bidding for the Newham PFI, one of 10 DETR-led Pathfinder housing projects, say the scheme will kick-start commercial development in the surrounding area.
A source at one of the bidders said: “Although in design terms the scheme is less prestigious than many PFI projects, the regeneration aspect is an issue for those bidding. It would provide the winning team with greater influence in the area.”
Eight shortlisted teams are to submit proposals to the London Borough of Newham for the £40m housing scheme at the start of next week. This includes refurbishment of 1200 units and the opportunity for new-build homes on 1.8 ha of derelict brownfield land.
Of the eight teams, one is made up of the London and Quadrant Housing Trust, Laing, BNP Paribas and EDAW. Another includes HTA Architects, Carillion, East Thames Housing Association and Belgian bank Dexia.
Social housing specialist Lovell Partnerships has linked up with the Paddington Churches Housing Association, Ujima Housing Association and PRP Architects to form a third team. A fourth is made up of Hyde Housing Association and M&E firm United House. The new housing is expected to produce a mixture of commercial and social units, although no target figure has yet been set for the numbers to be built.
Kamal Saizi, Newham council’s divisional housing director, said the work could have an impact on services and create jobs. He said: “Although the current scheme is defined, the bidders will be asked for their ideas on regenerating the area. That will have a greater impact on the second stage of the process, which will affect areas not yet affected by PFI.”
The industry source said that several teams may not appoint architects until they reach the second stage of the bidding process. The shortlist is expected to be whittled down to three or four teams by the end of October. He added: “At this stage the project is more about land development than design work.” Newham is one of the 10 public-private partnerships targeted for 10-year regeneration strategies.