At a time when local authorities are under increasing pressure to deliver services to tight budgets, Enfield LBC is thinking big and taking control of one of London’s largest regeneration schemes to deliver long-term benefits to residents.
As you read this, the pace of the £6bn Meridian Water project has accelerated and we have appointed Galliford Try as development partner to deliver the first phase of the scheme, providing the first 725 of the 10,000 homes to be provided, along with 6,000 jobs in the Lee Valley Regional Park and bringing community facilities and a new train station to Edmonton.
What Enfield is doing differently is that we are leading the development directly and selecting partners on a phase by phase basis.
By retaining control of the scheme we will be able to ensure that Meridian Water meets the needs of our residents by constructing high quality, family homes which are affordable, desirable, and which will help to ease the housing crisis.
The approach we have taken allows us to speed up delivery of the first new homes and jobs at Meridian Water. We have spent in excess of £100m in assembling land and carrying out preparatory works which puts us in a situation in which we can direct the rewards of sustainable development across the borough.
Enfield LBC has a clear vision of what it wants to achieve at Meridian Water. The headline is that we are building 10,000 homes for a range of families which will help solve our acute housing crisis. But it is not just about homes.
We want to attract businesses as diverse as manufacturers, artists, white collar workers, creative makers and entrepreneurs to generate high quality, well-paid jobs for Enfield residents.
We also want to encourage a huge array of culture, leisure and community uses across the development to create animated, interesting streets and places for our future residents. And we will be providing all this in a setting, with park life on the doorsteps of the thousands of families and businesses which will call Meridian Water home.
In common with all major infrastructure projects, Meridian Water is a long-term scheme. We expect the first homes and public facilities to be built by 2022.
Meanwhile, we intend to use the remainder of the site to create a sense of place, raise funds for the council and also to raise the development’s profile as construction proceeds.
Hosting vibrant festivals, exciting events, music and socialising will put the spotlight on Meridian Water as a place to be.
We are creating temporary buildings to help new businesses start up and expand. These help the area adapt into new neighbourhoods over time. And, by supporting young businesses and families from the outset, we will pave the way for the future generations.
London’s newest rail station – Meridian Water – which will replace Angel Road – is due to open later this month.
To increase the frequency of trains serving the station to eight an hour, we have bid for Home England’s Housing Infrastructure Fund and we are also looking for partners to build the infrastructure and deliver the second phase of housing on the site.
All this has required a sea change in attitude within the council as officers and politicians have risen to the challenge of delivering one of London’s biggest regeneration projects. We’ve created new roles and developed new approaches to enable us to meet this challenge and deliver at pace to meet our housing needs.
We are making Meridian Water a reality and building something incredible – a new piece of Enfield. In doing so we are showing that the public sector is ready, willing and able to successfully deliver large-scale construction projects which genuinely benefit residents.
It is an incredibly exciting time to be in local government.
Sarah Cary is Enfield LBC’s executive director of place