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Calls for more Battersea Power Station affordable homes

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Media captionDevelopment has 0.12% family homes

Just three of the first 2,400 flats to be built on the Battersea Power Station site are affordable, family-sized homes, BBC London has learned.

Local campaigners said the number of three-bedroom flats approved so far to be built by 2020 was "derisory".

But the company said it had plans to bring forward 300 affordable homes, many of which will be family-sized.

Concerns have also emerged about delays to future affordable housing because of work on the new Thames super-sewer.

The company admitted the last section of around 150 homes could be held up until 2025.

The third phase of the huge regeneration project was revealed three weeks ago when the Malaysian owners launched a global sales drive - marketing the latest tranche of luxury apartments in about a dozen international cities.

Luxury apartments

Sting played at the New York launch and was reported as having bought one of the flats, although its size has not been revealed.

Prices range from nearly £500,000 for a studio flat and more than £3m for a three-bedroom apartment.

Image copyright Battersea power station development company
Image caption The first phase is expected to be completed by 2016

Under the first two phases of the Battersea scheme, 1,120 apartments were approved, with no affordable homes.

The third phase with planning permission consists of 1,300 homes, with 103 deemed "affordable" - available for rent to people on incomes above £38,000.

'Inexcusable'

Planning documents show that of this total of 2,420 homes, due to be completed by 2020, three will be affordable three-bedroom flats. The remaining 100 will be split between one and two bedrooms.

Local architect and campaigner Keith Garner said the provision was "derisory".

"Words fail me. The city needs families, and places where they can grow," he said.

Alex Hilton, from the housing pressure group Generation Rent, said the lack of affordable housing was "inexcusable" and what was being offered was not genuinely affordable.

"You have to be in the top 20% of earners to be able to afford it," he said. "We should be providing more social rented homes."

Rents in the affordable section of the development, with its own separate entrance, will be as much as £1,200 a month for a two-bedroom, and £1,500 a month for one of the trio of available three-bedrooms. There will be an additional service charge of at least £125 a month.

Image copyright Battersea power station development company
Image caption Development plans include the building of luxury penthouse apartments

The Battersea Power Station development company says that because of its commitment to finance the £1bn restoration of the power station itself, and contribution of £200m to extending the Northern Line, it had been allowed to defer affordable housing until later in the project.

But its chief executive Rob Tincknell said work had begun on plans to bring forward an extra 300 affordable homes by 2020.

"An application will go in over the next three to four months. The architects are on board working up the plans.

"We feel it is really important to get affordable housing here and recognise the challenges Londoners face."

He denied it was in response to concerns about the level of affordability in the first three phases so far, saying it was something the company's Malaysian shareholders had been encouraging him to do.

Image copyright Battersea Power Station development company
Image caption As part of the plans a public viewing platform will be built on one of the chimneys

Of the final 560 affordable homes planned for the 40-acre site, 125 are due to be built with three bedrooms and 37 with four bedrooms.

There will be nearly 3,500 homes in all on the power station site when it is due to be completed in 2025.

But planning documents reveal that the company has recently been warning of "delays" in providing some of the remaining affordable housing because it is due to be built on a site earmarked for construction work on the Thames Tideway tunnel, which would span from west to east London, and is aimed at collecting 39 million tonnes of sewage discharged into the River Thames every year.

The potential construction clash has worried some local campaigners who feared the sewer project might be used by the company to put off or even cancel the last promised sections of cheaper housing.

City Hall has sought assurances that the developers still plan to deliver the cheaper homes as planned. Thames Water has said there is no reason the homes cannot be built on schedule.

Mr Tincknell said there might be a delay but gave a commitment that all the affordable housing required by the Section 106 legal agreement for the site would be built.

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