Eco World Ballymore has launched the second phase of “London City Island”. They are going to build two blocks of flats which will contain 417 new homes of various sizes (one to four bedrooms, and “suites”, which appears to be yet another new euphemism for “bedsit”).
That’s enough new homes to accommodate just over 2% of the Tower Hamlets housing waiting list: but local people in housing need are not the kind of people these homes are aimed at. Even if you raid your piggy bank, look down the back of the sofa and check the pockets of your winter jacket, you are unlikely to come up with funds to pay:
∗£300,000+ for a “suite”;
∗£375,000+ for a 1 bed;
∗£525,000+ for a 2 bed;
∗£751,000+ for a 3 bed;
∗and a whopping £1.2 million for the cheapest four bed.
It would take a full-time worker in a minimum wage job approximately half their working life to save £300,000.
Eco World Ballymore sees the London City Island development as helping to create a “mini Manhatten” – by which, presumably they mean an exclusive development aimed at the rich with over-inflated prices that will help the developer stack up the profits. Certainly the marketing is targeted at the rich, with developers boasting about how good public transport connections can whisk London City Island residents to Canary Wharf, the City and the West End.
The new development will also have “independent artisan restaurants” (not MacDonalds, then), shops, and al fresco spaces (grass?) which will apparently be used to show public art, design installations and to host ad-hoc creative performances (buskers?). Residents with time on their hands due to the quick commutes will have exclusive access to The City Island Arts Club, a private resident’s club with screening room, gym, concierge service and a striking swimming pool which is vibrant red in colour. What? No community hall for mehndis and hen nights? What will the residents do?
Architects Glenn Howells have drawn inspiration from world cities Chicago, Tokyo and Manhattan, apparently. Bright seafaring-inspired hues have been used throughout the development, with a single striking colour in glossy brickwork chosen for each of the buildings. The apartments themselves are designed with a warehouse aesthetic (no walls?), with generous open plan living spaces (no walls) and loft style features (yup, no walls).
English National Ballet (ENB) will be moving to London City Island, where they will occupy unique rehearsal rooms with big windows. Those of you reluctant to part with a Bobby Moore for a ticket to see an ENB show will be able to stroll over to their new premises and watch them rehearse: what was previously known as the activity of “peeping toms” has become “community engagement”.
Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, Chair of Eco World Ballymore, said the company has an aspiration “to offer unique living experiences for our customers at each and every development we undertake.” If only this development was unique and we could build social housing on all our other sites! Unfortunately, most of our sites are being snapped up by developers who want to build housing for those in least need.
We have asked London City Island to clarify how many social homes they are building as part of this development, and we await their reply.