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Tower Hamlets Mayor opens Topaz Court


Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman attended plaque-unveiling on Thursday to mark the opening of a new affordable housing scheme in east London.

The Topaz Court development in Elf Row, Shadwell, was made in association with the North River Alliance, a consortium of four development partners and six BME and specialist housing associations. It consists of 10 one-bed, eight two-bed and eight three bed flats.

Assisted by a Homes and Communities Agency grant of £2.5 million, the project was procured by Gateway housing association from a private developer. Gateway managed the whole build process from land purchase to completion.

Spitalfields housing association purchased the development in April and is planning to let the flats out at social rents.

“I’m delighted with the quality of the flats,” said Mayor Rahman. “In the council we value the contribution that housing associations like Spitalfields make in Tower Hamlets. He continued: “We have serious overcrowding in the borough, which contributes significantly to health and education for our communities, particularly our youngsters.

“We need work together and tackle overcrowding so that our young people have a good life-chance moving forward.”

Omar Mapara, chief executive of Spitalfields, said: “Topaz Court is a prime example of partnership working on what used to be a piece of derelict land. We have worked endlessly with our partners in order to enable such a good quality scheme.

“Being a small association and to have a development of this size clearly shows the commitment Spitalfields has to Tower Hamlets and for the communities we serve.”


Burbage House Redevelopment Starts


Durkan Limited has been awarded the £3 million construction contract by Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association to provide a 27 unit development in East London. The project is situated in Shoreditch, one of London’s most vibrant areas, overlooking Shoreditch Park


The development will involve the demolition of one of ISHA’s oldest blocks (which could not meet decent homes standards) and the design and build of a larger, more environmentally friendly 7-storey block built to the design standards of the proposed London plan.  The impressive new scheme, designed by JCMT Architects, will provide dwellings for affordable rent and intermediate housing in a mix of 1-4 bedroom apartments.  To achieve a minimum of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3, the development will include a range of sustainable and energy saving technologies including photovoltaic panels which will provide electricity, green roofs to support bio-diversity and high quality insulation to improve thermal performance and reduce fuel bills.


All residents who were moved from Burbage House will have the option to return to the new homes, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2011.


Third award for Forest Road, Waltham Forest


554 Forest Road was “highly commended” at the Waltham Forest Design awards ceremony held in February 2010.  This is the third commendation this scheme has won since its completion in March 2009.


The judges commented the “it was a worthy design and certainly the adapted flat we saw was very impressive and obviously greatly appreciated by the tenants.”


Providence Row Housing Association: Much needed move-on accommodation opens its doors


A new supported housing project in Tower Hamlets was officially opened by local Cllr Marc Francis on Thursday 25 February. 

Developed by Gateway Housing Association on behalf of Providence Row Housing Association, Fidelis House in Spitalfields has 20 self-contained ‘move-on’ flats for previously homeless people who are now ready to move to more independent accommodation. 

Fidelis House has a long history of providing housing for single homeless people.  For many years it was a hostel for homeless women run by PRHA with support from the Sisters of Mercy, and was named after one of the nuns who founded the original hostel. It was redeveloped as part of Tower Hamlets Council’s hostels strategy to free up much needed hostel bedspaces.

The old building was demolished and rebuilt to provide modern, well-designed accommodation and meets the ECO Homes “Very Good” Standard. In addition to low-energy lighting and energy-efficient boilers, residents are encouraged to lead greener and healthier lives as there is secure cycle storage.

At the opening event, Lynn Vickery, Chair of PRHA said ”We are delighted to be able to continue to provide good quality affordable accommodation in such a vibrant area.”

The building was designed by architects Rogers Partnership and constructed by Mansells Construction Services.



ISHA wins Islington's Giant Green Business Award 2009


ISHA won the small business C02 Reduction award in Islington’s Council’s 2009 Green Awards.  This is the second year Islington have run the Giant Green Business awards, which aim to honour those organisations which have demonstrated their commitment to improving the environmental sustainability of their business and, in turn, the borough as a whole.
The Judges commented  "The award to Islington and Shoreditch was based on their work to cut emissions within their own buildings, for instance by the installation of solar Photo Voltaics on their office roof, but also on their extensive engagements with their tenants in order to demonstrate the links between carbon reduction and cost savings".
Clare Thomson, ISHA Chief Executive said “We are really proud to be recognised for the work we have been doing to reduce the fuel bills for our residents and in our office, which has been achieved with the help of Islington Council and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme".