The project is a joint initiative between Newham council, which owns the land, and Lord Rogers, a “starchitect” with credits that include the British Museum’s courtyard enclosure and Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5.
One in three of the properties will be let at a subsidised rate, aimed at helping those who simply can’t afford London’s spiralling rents, and priority will be given to people already living in the borough who will be able to sign leases of up to five years.
A new company, Red Door Ventures, has been set up to build the homes, and the council will provide the start-up capital. It will be the first London borough to invest in private rented properties and the council has pledged to build 3,000 new rental homes by 2027. If the experiment proves successful it is certain to be emulated elsewhere in the capital.
Sir Robin Wales, the Mayor of Newham, says the project will provide tenants with “stable, reliable and high-quality homes”.
He adds: “Once the scheme is established, I want to be more ambitious and ensure the council subsidises at least half of the homes at affordable rent or below, so they are within the means of residents on low incomes.
“This would be a much bigger proportion of truly affordable homes than anywhere else in London.”
Lord Rogers says a return to the 20th-century vogue for prefabricated housing is “perfectly suited” to a project aimed at producing affordable homes.
The council, declining to comment on the price of each unit, says they are designed to meet all modern building standards and should last for at least 60 years. The flats will be assembled over six months on the Leather Gardens estate.