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TOPIC: Council confirms termination of Barratt's Meridian Water development agreement

Council confirms termination of Barratt's Meridian Water development agreement 27 Oct 2017 23:05 #3281

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[Original article]

Enfield Council has confirmed that the housebuilder Barratt has withdrawn from the large redevelopment scheme at Meridian Water, Edmonton, reportedly worth £6 billion and involving construction of 10,000 homes.

The announcement below was posted on the Enfield Council website on Thursday (21st October) and the Reuters news agency also published a report.

Though the exact points of disagreement are not stated by either source, it may be that Barratt wished to row back on earlier commitments regarding the proportion of "affordable" or social housing in the scheme or its investment in social or community infrastructure.

Today's Evening Standard implies that housing developers are blaming the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for the collapse of the Barratt deal.  They claim that the Mayor's insistence on high levels of affordable housing among new schemes makes them "unviable".

Meridian Water update

Enfield Council can today confirm that discussions with Barratt to enter into a Development Agreement for Meridian Water have been terminated.

An Enfield Council spokesperson said:

“Enfield Council can confirm that, if Barratt would not confirm its commitment to a number of key elements of its own bid by Wednesday 25 October at the very latest, then a recommendation was to be presented to a Cabinet meeting on Monday 30 October that its position as preferred Development Partner for Meridian Water be terminated.

"Ahead of this, Barratt has taken the decision to formally withdraw.

“Meridian Water remains one of the most exciting development opportunities anywhere in London but we were simply not prepared to sign up to what we considered to be a poor deal for the residents and businesses of Enfield.

“Enfield Council therefore informed Barratt that their proposed terms were unacceptable which has now led to discussions with them ending.

“We are immensely proud of the progress we have made at Meridian Water over the last 18 months as Enfield Council has taken direct control to ensure successful delivery.

“We already own two thirds of the developable site. We have Housing Zone funding secured from the GLA. We have achieved a planning consent for the first 725 homes at Willoughby Lane and are managing the construction enabling works on-site. We have developed our ‘Meridian Works’ proposition with Europe’s largest open workshop for makers, creators and artists opening in 2018. And we have secured the delivery of a new rail station at Meridian Water which will open in 2019.

“With these fundamentals already in place we will now consider our next steps to secure at Meridian Water the delivery of high quality new homes, world-class public spaces and major new job opportunities for the people of Enfield and beyond.”

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Council confirms termination of Barratt's Meridian Water development agreement 30 Oct 2017 10:22 #3282

Unsurprising. Land bought at a price to reflect a certain exit value given local authority discussions at that time regarding social housing provision and other commitments.

Whilst I've not seen or heard with any certainty that Barratt were looking to 'backtrack', reality is if the market for sales weakens/falls and a new Mayor pressures a LA to renege on ITS initial requirements and go for a much harder line then obviously the development appraisal for the site will begin to collapse.

When you're dealing with a national housebuilder, you can only push them so far before they'll move on and make same or better returns elsewhere in the country - better performing markets like Birmingham and Manchester, with less obstructive councils.

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