London

Footballers' affordable housing goal for London

Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble, and Bobby Zamora Image copyright Jake Ratcliffe
Image caption Footballers Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble, and Bobby Zamora all grew up on council estates

Ex-England captain Rio Ferdinand has said he wants to build social and affordable homes in London to help combat the housing crisis.

The former defender has teamed up with ex-Fulham striker Bobby Zamora and current West Ham captain Mark Noble to set up the Legacy Foundation.

All three men grew up on council housing estates in London.

They will start work building 1,300 homes just outside Luton in 2017.

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Media captionBobby Zamora and Rio Ferdinand spoke at the MIPIM property show about affordable homes

The players said they have also opened discussions with Newham council, Barking and Dagenham, and also want to approach Southwark Council too.

"I'm from Southwark and I want Southwark to have a legacy as well... I will be so disappointed if that didn't happen," Ferdinand said.

Image copyright Hawkins Brown
Image caption Plans include a sports academy, creche, and education and community facilities

Their aim is to achieve 50% social and affordable housing at each site the Legacy Foundation builds on.

Ferdinand added: "Everything that we do has to have a sporting and leisure facility. It has to have an education part to it and we want to entice the local businesses to give the people in the community opportunities as well."

The players' current project will see 1,300 homes built in one of the most deprived areas of the UK in Houghton Regis, near Luton, with 600 properties currently designated for social and affordable housing.

The Bedfordshire site will include a sports academy, a creche, a leisure centre with a gym and swimming pool as well as education and community facilities.

Image copyright Legacy Foundation
Image caption Building work is expected to start at the Houghton Regis site in 2017

It is being built at a cost of £400m in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and Aviva Investors.

The council will set rents and rental periods with the income from tenants split between the council and investors.

Under the proposals put forward by the Legacy Foundation councils will also retain the freehold to the land.

Image copyright Hawkins Brown

The footballers' share of the profits from the housing projects will be put back into the foundation to ensure the continuation of youth and sports facilities on the sites where they build.

Asked why they had chosen to build affordable housing Mr Ferdinand said: "I don't ever want to be known for the rest of my life as just a footballer.

"I want something I can look back on. [Something] my friends, my family, and my kids especially, can look back and go 'you know what my dad did something or my friend did something for the community and that's there and [has got] longevity and sustainability and he helped people in those communities.'"

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