Wood Street Families and Homes Hub building ‘topped out’
The site of the former Wood Street library, on the corner of Wood Street and Forest Road, is being developed into a service centre for the local community alongside much-needed homes for Waltham Forest residents. It will give local people access to the Families and Homes teams in a safe and welcoming environment, in line with the council’s commitment to put residents at the heart of everything it does. Services at the hub will include housing solutions advice, as well as some Youth Offending Services (YOS) and social care appointments.
Waltham Forest celebrated a construction milestone this week by completing the frame and roof to the 11th floor of the Wood Street Families and Homes Hub building on the site of the former Wood Street Library.
The building will provide 67 affordable new homes (29 for social rent and 38 for shared ownership) and on the ground floor and first floor, a facility for residents to access an innovative space to host some of the Council’s most important customer facing families and housing services, and a commercial unit for a small shop or café which will provide job opportunities for local people.
Cllr Grace Williams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Cllr Ahsan Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, Cllr Vicky Ashworth, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Social Inclusion and Equalities, and Cllr Alistair Strathern, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People took part in the ceremony with the Council’s construction partner, award-winning housebuilder The Hill Group.
The building will be a new landmark on the important junction of Wood Street and Forest Road and will include a nod to the former building with replicas of the name plaques that adorned the previous home to Wood Street Library. A new replacement library for Wood Street opened on Thursday 13 August 2020, a few minutes' walk up the road at the Marlowe Road development.
In May of this year, The Greater London Authority (GLA) announced funding for several developments across Waltham Forest, including Wood Street Families and Homes Hub. Thanks to the funding, all 67 new homes will be completely affordable, with 29 for social rent and 38 for shared ownership, bringing more new, high-quality homes to Waltham Forest residents.
Cllr Williams said: “We’re committed to putting residents at the heart of everything we do and to build better services. The topping out of Wood Street Families and Homes Hub is a huge milestone for us all to recognise the big impact that this building will have for Waltham Forest residents. Not only will this provide new, 100 per cent affordable homes, but it will also bring Families and Homes services to those who need it most and we’re one step closer to making that happen.”
On the ground floor, there are plans to use the space to transform the way Waltham Forest families and housing teams work with the local community. The designs include a self-serve reception space, a flexible pop-up space showing residents how Council services and programmes can help them, a meet and greet area, an assessment and interview area offering open and private space, as well as a workspace for Council officers.
Simon Trice, Managing Director at The Hill Group comments: “We are delighted to have reached this key point in the construction of the Wood Street Families and Homes Hub building and are pleased to officially mark this topping out milestone with our partners Waltham Forest Council. The exciting project will help deliver essential Council services to support the local community alongside providing 67 much needed high-quality homes. It has also provided Hill with an excellent opportunity to work with the council to deliver considerable social value, including providing employment and training opportunities and supporting local projects to help support the local community.”
During construction, Hill, Waltham Forest’s construction partner, has contributed over £830,000 of social value to date in the borough, with more to come. Hill’s work has brought many benefits to the local community such as providing job opportunities for residents including training opportunities, apprenticeships and supporting the ‘Women into Construction’ programme, through to volunteering and in-kind contributions to local projects, such as improvements to the neighbouring Woodside Primary Academy’s Garden in the autumn of last year.
Wood Street Families and Homes Hub is expected to complete in 2024.