London mayor adviser warns 2011 completion date will rule out complex projects from Kickstart cash

The prime minister’s £400m scheme to restart stalled regeneration projects is being seriously endangered by government deadlines imposed on the scheme, a key adviser to London mayor Boris Johnson has said.

Richard Blakeway, director of housing at the Greater London Authority, said the Kickstart scheme would not work well for large regeneration programmes because the deadline for the completing homes was too tight.

Units funded through the scheme should be complete by 2011, but many projects involving infrastructure or high densities would take longer, he said.

The £400m Kickstart programme, which was announced in the last Budget, provides funding for affordable housing and infrastructure.

Blakeway said: “The 2011 target means only sites of 50 units or less will be viable so it is not stimulating the large-scale development we need to get the industry through the recession.”

David Lunts, regional director for London at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said: “The Budget package is a boost to the housing sector in the capital. However, many of the sites we have in London are complex, long term, and require infrastructure. The 2011 deadline means it’s very difficult for some of the big projects to get in under the line.”

Ned Baker, development director at Metropolitan Housing Partnership, which is bidding for Kickstart funding for its West Hendon regeneration scheme, said: “In our discussions with the HCA the focus has been on starts by March 2010. Funding depends on how rigid the HCA is about the March 2011 deadline.”

The shortlist of Kickstart bidders will be published in July.