Mayor greenlights affordable new prefab flats in Croydon

Pocket Living will build 153 compact homes, with the aim of being up to 100 per cent affordable. 

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Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead for a block of affordable flats in Addiscombe Grove, Croydon, which will be built off-site before being “dropped” onto the location.

Pocket Living, a company that creates compact homes for first-time buyers at below the market rate, will be building the components of the 153-home complex in factories, before inserting them into place on site.

The company won a £25m deal with City Hall last year that will see them deliver 1,059 new “Pocket” homes in the capital by 2021.

Most (73 per cent) of the homes in the Addiscombe Grove development will sold at an “affordable” rate, defined as at least 20 per cent below the local market rate, by Pocket Living. A specific price has not been confirmed, but Pocket Living informed Spotlight that its homes in Gainsford Road E17 are currently on the market for upwards of £264,000. The one-bed flats will be 38sq metres, and include an open-plan kitchen and living room. 

Pocket Living is currently in negotiation with a housing association to make the remainder of the homes, some of which will be two- and three-bed flats, available for shared ownership. If successful, this could make the development up to 100 per cent affordable.

The Mayor’s threshold for affordable housing eligibility is a household income of under £90,000. To purchase a Pocket home, the prospective buyer must live or work in the local area, and be a first-time buyer. According to the company, the average household income of a Pocket home buyer is £42,000.

Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket Living, said of the Addiscombe project, “Once again, the Mayor has shown his commitment to tackling the housing crisis through backing innovative solutions that deliver significant levels of affordable homes. We are proud to share City Hall’s vision for housing in the capital.”

At the end of 2016, the Mayor committed to an affordable homes target of 35 per cent in new developments, and pledged £3.15bn of funds allocated to City Hall by the Chancellor to housing associations planning to build a minimum of 50 per cent affordable homes.

Augusta Riddy is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman.