How we work with London boroughs
PLACE is a collaboration, owned by our member boroughs. Tower Hamlets has hosted the programme and supported its development.
We were initiated and developed by the London Housing Directors’ Group with the support of London Councils, the representative body for local government in the capital.
PLACE is in a position to act quickly on any site offered and can support Boroughs in their decision-making process to join the programme and understand the potential of sites in their area. PLACE can provide a comprehensive and fast paced development process on behalf of its member councils due to its contractual arrangements.
In one week, PLACE can provide a provisional site layout providing the optimum number of units and basic financial output to test viability. The cost of this is circa £500 providing accurate mapping and unit layout in line with our calculations.
Detailed appraisal and due diligence
If the borough wishes to proceed further with the site then PLACE can undertake site surveys and consider an early pre-application discussion with the local planning authority.
A detailed protocol for this stage has been developed and approved by PLACE’s Board and forms part of any project delivery agreement.
PLACE has already worked with a number of firms that are reliable and provide good value. They will be appointed in line with our procurement policy to ensure compliance. This stage will take less than 2 months depending on the complexity and accessibility of the site. Early pre-app engagement would also assist in providing better understanding of local planning requirements and reduce time later in the planning process.
In parallel it is critical that the financial assessment and requirements to fund the scheme have corporate buy-in at an early stage.
PLACE’s business model is based on a purchase model, where the local authority will purchase the units and PLACE will act as the development agent. A purchase agreement will be signed between PLACE and the local authority.
Planning and Site delivery
Planning submissions are prepared by PLACE’s architects and our retained planning consultants. Having PLACE’s contractors submit an application on behalf of the borough ensures previous learning is utilised and the process runs as smoothly as possible. Public consultation will be carried out in line with the borough’s requirements.
Once validated, the planning application will be considered over a 13 week period. Stage 4 design development will continue during this period subject to PLACE being satisfied that any risks have been considered.
Once planning approval is in place the order for the units and mobilisation for the groundworks will commence. Both activities will run concurrently aiming for assembly onsite within 180 days.
The units will be owned and managed by the local authority, including all allocations and tenant communications, as well as day to day repairs. PLACE will assist in placing the order and provide a manual and warranty details.
As the local authority will own the units, it is their decision how the units are utilised to help homelessness.