Brent Council and Wates Residential have broken ground on a development of 149 new council homes in Harlesden.
The homes at Knowles House will be used as temporary accommodation for households waiting to be rehoused permanently by the Council and vulnerable residents.
Work will include the construction of two new buildings, which will provide 92 homes for temporary accommodation and 57 homes to support the council’s independent living scheme.
The ground breaking ceremony took place on Thursday 26 September and was attended by Cllr Muhammed Butt, the Leader of Brent Council, and Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform as well as other local councillors and Wates representatives including the Operations Director for Wates Residential, Glen Roberts.
These homes are part of the council’s programme to build 1,000 new council homes in the next five years for Brent residents. The council is directly funding the £200 million programme to build these new homes along with £65 million from the Mayor of London.
As part of the project, Wates Residential and Brent Council have also made a joint pledge to provide employment and training opportunities for local residents, including the creation of apprenticeships in trade and management roles, and work experience placements. Through Women in Construction, Ana Ada – a 32-year-old from Uxbridge – is currently enjoying a four-week placement with the team.
In order to help offset carbon emissions from the project, Brent and Wates Residential also planted 100 sapling trees in Roundwood Park, next to the development site, with the help of 13 pupils from Newfield Primary School last year.
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: “We’re committed to providing suitable and affordable homes for families who are most in need. This project is an opportunity for us to provide high quality temporary accommodation and a safe home for people to live independently. The nationwide housing crisis has been decades in the making and it won’t be easy to solve but we are doing everything we can to help our community. We now need the Government to match the ambition of local councils such as ours and help us to get housebuilding again.”
Paul Nicholls, Managing Director for Wates Residential, said: “The Knowles House development is an extremely important project that will deliver 149 new homes for some of Brent’s most vulnerable residents and will crucially boost the amount of temporary accommodation available in the area. We are pleased to have been able to celebrate work starting with our partners from Brent Council and are looking forward to continuing our partnership over the coming months, including through our joint pledge to provide education, training and skills opportunities for local residents.”