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Mayor says 1,000 new homes target ‘on track’ despite pandemic as East Ham development reaches milestone

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 August 2020

An artist's impression of The Didbury, a 185-home development in Didsbury Close, East Ham. Picture: Puttock Brown

An artist's impression of The Didbury, a 185-home development in Didsbury Close, East Ham. Picture: Puttock Brown

Puttock Brown

The mayor of Newham insists she is committed to her 2022 housing target despite the impact of coronavirus, as a major project in East Ham progresses.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie MortonMayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz and mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Homes for Londoners conference. Picture: Sophie Morton

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said her initial target of 1,000 new council-owned homes built or underway by March 2022 remains on track, thanks to construction sites being made Covd-19 secure quickly.

Her comments came at the “topping out” ceremony to mark completion of the first phase of The Didsbury, a £35.8m residential development in East Ham by the council’s housing delivery company Populo Living.

The Didsbury will have 148 high-quality, energy efficient homes, including 77 private rented and 71 affordable.

Another 37 private rented homes are being refurbished at the neighbouring site, the former East Ham town hall annex.

The main contruction project is on course to be completed by autumn 2021, despite a four-week site shutdown during the height of the pandemic.

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Populo and its contractor Bugler quickly introduced new welfare measures to protect workers’ health and safety while maximising manpower on site, including managing social distancing, tight hygiene control, and temperature checks.

Ms Fiaz said: “The Didsbury and the Town Hall Annex are key to regenerating East Ham, so reaching this stage despite the pandemic is a big step forward for the whole community.

“Covid-19 will be with us for a long time to come so it was vital to move at pace to get the site bio-secure and get the project back up and running.

“I am keeping my foot on the pedal to tackle the housing crisis and I am 100pc committed to our 2022 target and beyond.”

As of March this year, there were 27,000 people on the housing register and 5,420 households in temporary accommodation in the borough.

Populo, which changed its names from Red Door Ventures in June, has a new remit to ensure 50pc of the homes it will build are genuinely affordable.

Populo is currently managing 12 sites in the borough and expects to have 884 homes underway by March 2022.

Bugler Group CEO Andy Bugler said after gradually increasing, contruction on the Didsbury project was now progressing at normal levels and only eight weeks of production had been lost overall.


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