All ball games allowed

Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Mark Nobile have teamed up to build social housing with sports centres.

After growing up on council estates, the three past and present West Ham football stars have pledged to give something back by forming the Legacy Foundation to encourage private investors to build housing centred around sporting facilities and communities on brownfield land owned by local councils in depressed areas.

Legacy and its partner investors and developers will build according to each council’s dictates — with a higher proportion of three-bedroom flats for social-tenant families if that is where the greater need is, or affordable one-beds for key workers, or a greater proportion of commercially rentable flats. The property will then be let and managed by the council (there is no sales component to the scheme, though Legacy may explore shared ownership in future).A minimum of 40 per cent of units will be social, affordable or key worker housing in each development, with an aspiration to 50 per cent.

Revenue from rental will be split between the council; the developer and investors during the course of the lease; and the Legacy Foundation, the latter to fund the sports and community centres — and potentially schools and hospitals — in the schemes.

These will provide activities between 3pm and 6pm when kids have left school and their parents are still at work, plus subsidised crèches, adult education classes, and visits by Legacy’s founders and other inspirational figures. Noble joked that their schemes will be covered in signs saying “All Ball Games Allowed”.

Legacy is negotiating to build 1,500 homes in the Kingsland area of Houghton Regis in Central Bedfordshire. They hope to break ground on their first project in early 2017, with the first flats ready for moving into a year after that.

There is a new player in the housing market!