Princess Anne visited Hackney to find out more about a new development of affordable homes in the borough this week.
The Princess Royal arrived at the complex of low-cost homes by developer Pocket at Marcon Place near Hackney Downs station to view the properties and speak to some of the local first-time buyers.
Marc Vlessing, chief executive of Pocket told EastLondonLines his firm was “honoured” that Princess Anne chose to visit one of their developments.
“We are planning a second development in Hackney for next year which will help more local people into homeownership,” he added.
Unlike similar schemes, Pocket buyers own the entirety of their home and are not subject to additional charges.
To meet the criteria, buyers must earn an average income of £40,000 per annum and can be single or a couple.
The scheme is backed by Hackney Council, and the developer has also received a £21.7m loan from the Mayor of London and a £30m loan facility from Lloyds Banking Group.
Councillor Philip Glanville, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, told EastLondonLines he was “proud” to welcome the Princess Royal to Hackney and talk to her about the council’s work to build new “truly affordable” homes in the borough.
“These new homes at Marcon Place show the range of different home ownership options we work on together with partners like Pocket, we need more homes of all tenures to keep Hackney a borough where people of all backgrounds can continue to live and work together amid the housing crisis,” he explained.
“I am pleased that this innovative Pocket development is now home to local people on low and middle incomes, meeting their aspiration to buy a home of their own in Hackney.”
Pocket built 28 one-bedroom apartments this year, which were available to buy at a discount of 30 per cent below the local market rate.
First-time buyer Mike Tsang said the programme gave him a chance to own a property of his own.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to get on the housing ladder but finding Pocket was a stroke of good luck for me – they were both affordable and allowed me to stay in the area of London that I feel is my home,” he explained.
Pocket plans to construct a further 29 one-bedroom apartments in Hackney next year.