Merton site is earmarked for Prescott’s House Challenge

A derelict site in Mitcham has been selected for regeneration as part of a Government drive for affordable housing.
Mitcham is the only site in London to get Government backing to take part in the Design for Manufacture competition, organised by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The site, formerly occupied by Rowan High School, is one of just 10 locations selected to take part in the competition that challenges house builders to design and construct high quality homes for around £60,000.
The Design for Manufacture Competition is being run by English Partnerships, the Government’s regeneration agency, on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Leader of Merton Council, Andrew Judge was delighted the Rowan site had been selected.
“‘We are very pleased that Merton has been chosen for the £60k House Challenge. The Council has worked for a long time to secure affordable housing within the price range of local residents. We know that on average many public sector workers and many employed in the private sector only have about half the purchasing power that they need to buy a house locally.

We passed the Rowan site to English Partnerships specifically to attract affordable housing. Therefore, to be chosen as the only London site for a range of innovative, high quality housing is excellent news. But we want to see more than simply housing on the site. We have consulted local residents and will want to see community facilities, a 2.6 hectare park and a real commitment to environmental principles in energy use, building materials and waste disposal as well.’
Announcing the successful firms at the BRE OFFSITE 2005 conference on Monday, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott said:
‘I am encouraged by the response from the construction industry to step up and take on my challenge to produce the £60,000 home. The level of interest in this competition has been staggering. We received over 50 expressions of interest in the first stage, involving more than 100 companies.
In total 10 sites have now been chosen to be used by the eventual competition winners. The successful bidders will be chosen early next year and it is expected that work will begin on the first sites in Spring 2006.
The Deputy Prime Minister added:
‘Innovation and imagination is the name of the game. This is a stretching challenge but one that is necessary if we are to tackle the problems we face in terms of housing shortage and buyers being priced out of the market. Twinned with that I want to stimulate fresh thinking in the industry with the UK becom