Opposition councillors are calling for an urgent debate on Meridian Water amid concerns over housing affordability on the £6 billion scheme.

Earlier this month, a cross-party committee warned homes for sale on the Edmonton-based development – with an average price of “around £440,000” – would be out of reach of most Enfield residents.

The report has since become the subject of a dispute, with the council’s administration claiming it contains inaccuracies.

Responding to the report by the Meridian Water Scrutiny Workstream, council officials claimed more than 3,000 homes at London Affordable Rents and London Living Rents “will be affordable for those on low incomes”.

But the cross-party committee submitted a further report calling for more evidence of the proposed benefits for residents – and rebutting several of the alleged inaccuracies.

It is set to be discussed at a meeting of the regeneration and economic development scrutiny panel in December. But Conservative councillors warned that would be too late, and the second report should be discussed at a meeting of the full council.

Cllr Edward Smith (Cockfosters), Conservative lead on housing and regeneration, said the Meridian Water report raises “fundamental strategic questions about the project”.

A copy of the second document, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, states that only 26 per cent of homes on the first two phases will be at London Affordable Rents. Other affordable homes will be at London Living Rents, which are aimed at those on middle incomes.

The report claims “no evidence was provided to demonstrate the number of Enfield households in rented accommodation who would benefit from properties at London Living Rent (LLR) levels”.

It adds: “Based on LLR rates for Upper Edmonton, households will need an annual household income of between £27,000 and £42,000 to afford a LLR home.

“LLR homes will not be affordable to local people on the income levels set out in the report. London Affordable Rent homes will be affordable to most on lower incomes, but the officer’s response mixes these with LLR homes, so it is unclear how many of these will be delivered.

“As shown in the report, a vast majority of the 2,200 properties could be occupied by people from outside Enfield.”

Cllr Smith claimed the Meridian Water scheme is being frontloaded with homes that are not affordable for people in Enfield. He suggested building homes for private sale first and using the profits to build more affordable homes later.

Cllr Smith said: “The problem is, as the report from the workstream points out, these supposedly affordable homes will not be at council rent levels.

“The workstream has done a lot of detailed analysis to come up with the 26 per cent. In terms of the people in Edmonton, whose income levels are low, only that sort of housing is genuinely accessible.

“We are in support of mixed communities, so there needs to be a mix of accommodation for all income levels.”

The Conservative councillor added the scheme needed more family homes instead of one and two-bedroom units and warned properties could be bought up by overseas investors. He suggested the council could explore the possibility of attaching conditions to the leases to prevent their forward sale to buy-to-let investors.

An Enfield Council spokesperson claimed the original scrutiny report contained a number of “significant factual inaccuracies”.

The spokesperson added: “Meridian Water is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Edmonton and provide thousands of high-quality, genuinely affordable homes, as well as good jobs. The main beneficiaries of Meridian Water will be local people.

“Meridian Water will contain a wide range of different types of property, including a significant amount of social housing, family-sized properties and accommodation that is affordable and attractive to local people.

“Council reports make it explicitly clear that the priority for homes to be sold to local residents. And the risk of overseas sales has been dramatically reduced since the currently administration decided to move to a master developer approach.

“As is the case with all scrutiny committee reports, this report will be considered by cabinet in October. The leader of the council and the director of Meridian Water have also addressed the report in a formal letter.”

Editor's note: After initial publication, Enfield Council disputed the 26 per cent figure given for the amount of London Affordable Rent housing to be included, saying it has calculated the amount as 30.5 per cent.

It was later confirmed that the figures quoted by the council in disputing the report’s findings were not comparable to those referenced by the committee.

Read more: https://www.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/18791289.enfield-council-statement-meridian-water-affordable-homes/