Boots on the ground at Meridian Water

By Marco Cillario - Fri 24 March 2017, 4:37 pm

Work has begun to prepare the Meridian Water site for development, while the council has confirmed a timeframe for the project delivery and reached control of 50% of the land.

A visit from the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on 26 January marked the start of construction enabling work for the first phase of the £6 billion, 85-ha scheme in the south-east of Enfield.

Meridian Water will deliver 10,000 homes, a new station ready for Crossrail 2, shops, schools, employment and community facilities by 2036, creating 6,700 new permanent jobs and 10,000 positions in the construction industry.

Phase one, given outline planning permission by Enfield Council in June 2016 and granted approval by the Greater London Authority (GLA) in December last year, will include 725 homes and the new Meridian Water station, along with retail space, community and leisure facilities, play areas, public open spaces and associated infrastructure.

Preparation work will be carried out by the council. Barratt London and SEGRO have been selected as preferred partners for the construction of the new buildings.

“Today is the day that Meridian Water moves firmly from vision to reality,” said Councillor Doug Taylor, leader of the council. “Many people said ‘it couldn’t be done’ but today we have started works to prepare the site for the first new homes, we have the new railway station funded and being delivered and we have the UK’s largest homes builder as our selected development partner.”

And on 14 March the council announced the acquisition of one hectare of land within the development area, meaning the local authority now owns 23 of the 48ha of developable land – the remainder of the 85ha being occupied by rail lines, roads, waterways and the current Tesco and Ikea stores.

Taylor stressed the role of the “direct and active involvement” of the council in making the scheme possible. The council-owned land will then be sold on to Barratt London on a phased basis, said Peter George, assistant director for regeneration and planning at Enfield Council.

As work got under way, the council confirmed a timeframe for phase one: a development agreement with Barratt London will be signed this spring, enabling the developer to start preparing a detailed planning application. In September, work will start on Meridian Works, which is expected to become the largest open workshop in Europe and will open in early 2018. Construction of phase one will start at the beginning of next year, with the station opening in 2019.

Taylor added that “a series of further announcements” will be made over the coming months.

Meridian Water was identified as an opportunity area and granted housing zone status by the GLA in September 2015, meaning a number of planning and financial measures – including an indicative funding allocation of £25 million – will be in place to speed up housing delivery.

“We know that fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon, not a sprint, but that means starting now and being ambitious,” said Khan, adding he looked forward to the delivery of “homes, jobs, transport infrastructure and open spaces in this part of the capital”.