People living in Enfield will be able to afford homes in the borough’s flagship regeneration scheme, a housing chief has claimed.

Responding to a recent report on the £6 billion Meridian Water development, programme director Peter George said those in Edmonton and other parts of the borough will be able to rent the homes that are classed as affordable.

The recently published Meridian Water Scrutiny Workstream report states “very few” of the borough’s residents will be able to afford the average house price on the development of “around £440,000”.

It adds that overseas investors are among those included as targets for home sales in the council’s own financial viability assessment.

But speaking at a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (September 15), Mr George said the report implied that the council was responsible for the UK housing system and setting property values.

“The report states that certain properties at Meridian Water will be unaffordable to local people – implying the council itself is responsible for setting the market value,” Mr George added.

“The market value will be set by our housing partners, who will be responsible for selling homes having regard for new-build precedents as well as the sales values within the local area – Edmonton and the rest of Enfield.

“We have evidence that demonstrates the affordable rented homes, the London Living Rented homes, will be affordable for everyone living in Edmonton.”

Cllr Achilleas Georgiou (Labour, Bowes), who was chairman of the committee that produced the report, claimed its findings were based on the period after the council became master developer in 2018.

He said overseas investors were identified as sales targets in a 2019 council report – and while there is a ban on them buying homes for up to 12 months, they could purchase them after that period is over.

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan (Labour, Jubilee) said the local authority’s decision to take on the role of master developer “significantly diminishes the risk associated with private investors and overseas buyers”.

She added: “Under the earlier plans to enter a single contract with a single private-sector partner, there would be no guarantees. So, we can ensure private homes are sold to first-time buyers and UK nationals, we can prioritise local people for new jobs and guarantee that social infrastructure is provided.

“Our plans have to be anchored in reality and not just opinion pieces. We have to be able to deliver projects, so funding is crucial.

“Intermediate and affordable rented housing are covered by housing benefit and are therefore affordable for local people.”

Cllr Caliskan repeated a point made in her initial response to the report that money raised by providing homes for sale at market values would be used to cross-subsidise affordable housing and infrastructure.

But Cllr Georgiou claimed intermediate tenures are not affordable, meaning only 27 per cent of Meridian Water phases one and two would be affordable.

He added that while he recognised the council did not set market rates, the committee had looked at whether people in Edmonton and across the borough would be able to buy homes on the development.

He called for more evidence to support the council’s vision for the project, and Cllr Caliskan assured him this would be provided.

Meridian Water will be one of the projects examined by the council’s newly created regeneration and economic development scrutiny panel.