Volunteers ready for ambitious Clerkenwell homes bid

An artist's impression of what the Mount Pleasant development would look like, including retail unit

An artist's impression of what the Mount Pleasant development would look like, including retail units - Credit: Archant

A community group has launched an “affordable” alternative to controversial Boris Johnson-backed housing plans.

In October last year, the Mayor of London granted planning permission for the Royal Mail to develop its Mount Pleasant site, in Clerkenwell, into 680 homes.

But the scheme received heavy criticism for only providing 98 affordable units.

And on Thursday, last week the Mount Pleasant Association announced its plans for a “commercially realistic and popular” alternative.

It would see the group, which has been backed by a consortium of major investors and developers, buy the site from Royal Mail and develop its own scheme with an increased 160 affordable homes.

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Edward Denison, from the group, claimed that 99 per cent of people surveyed supported the plans. He said: “For over a year we have been working with a team of highly experienced professionals on a co-design process for the Mount Pleasant site.

“This has involved numerous wider community events in conjunction with our ongoing application to become a neighbourhood forum.

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“Our scheme aims to realise the true potential of this extraordinary site by turning it into the heart of a new neighbourhood in the centre of London through excellent planning and design.

“We want to build more of the types of homes that London desperately needs with more affordable homes and to create a desirable and well-connected place to live and work.”

At a public meeting in Cowcross Street, Farringdon, on Thursday, the Mount Pleasant Association said that together with social enterprise group Create Streets, it will attempt to purchase the 4.8h site next year.

It is currently used as a staff car park and van marshalling yard. The Royal Mail’s strategy is to sell the site, in Farringdon Road, to a developer with the planning permission that has already been granted, although no developer is currently in place.

Nigel Franklin, from Create Streets, has worked on the project as a quantity surveyor. He said: “It has been very rewarding. There is a huge amount more work to be done but I am confident that this plan could be developed into a fully buildable proposition.”

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