As the housing crisis in London continues to rise on a yearly basis, the need for affordable housing is still an on-going issue in the UK. Following from the philanthropy shown by former Manchester United players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs in housing the homeless with a hotel, it is now apparent that footballers are feeling the urge to give back and make a difference.
The Legacy Foundation, pioneered by Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble and Bobby Zamora is a regeneration charity with a plan to build a number of social and private renting housing schemes financed by private investors. The charity established following the childhood council house experiences of the well-known football players plans to build almost 1,300 homes on a 22 hectare site near Luton worth £400 million.
The scheme funded by Aviva Investors in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council will focus sports facilities at the heart of the community, with the players expected to collectively invest £300,000 of there own money on a yearly basis to cover management costs, repairs and staff wages.
With interest to expand the project to the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Newham, there is much to consider in whether this plan is a long term solution. As the scheme relies on the private rental homes subsidising the affordable housing, there is concern that this idea may not work in other areas of the country where rents are much lower than in London.
It is planned that local authorities will lease the land to private investors for a period of 40 to 50 years which will eventually return to the council in the future. The rental income will be split between the investors and the local authority and will be set by the local authority. It is projected that tenants will be able to move in to the homes in the next 2 years and the scheme will generate £16 million a year.
But out of the planned 1,297 homes, 746 will be privately rented. It is therefore argued that the foundation could have sold the land at a low cost to a housing association which could have built 100% affordable housing on a non-profit basis.