Premier League footballers unveil £400m London housing development

Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Mark Noble have set up the Legacy Foundation to address a social housing problem in the capital

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has spoken about his desire to see genuinely affordable housing affordable built in London.

The former Manchester United defender has teamed up West Ham United captain Mark Noble and ex-Fulham striker Bobby Zamora to set up the Legacy Foundation to address the housing crisis and lack of affordable places to live. All three of the footballers grew up on council housing estates in east or south London.

Everything we do has to have a sporting and leisure facility, it has to have an education part to it

The Legacy Foundation has announced the beginning of building work on 1,300 homes just outside Luton, set for completion in 2017, and has also opened discussions with local authorities in Newham and Barking and Dagenham.

Its aim is to achieve 50 per cent social or affordable housing at each site it manages to build on, and also aims to make sure there are decent communities facilities in place at each project.

“Everything 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 communities opportunities as well,” said Ferdinand.

The first project sees 600 of the 1,300 homes built in Houghton Regis, near Luton, designated for social and affordable housing.

The £400 million development is happening in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and Aviva Investors. The council will set rents, with the income from tenants split between the council and investors.


The Big Issue magazine is a social enterprise, a business that reinvests its profits in helping others who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or whose lives are blighted by poverty.

“We want to provide high quality housing in the estates and areas that need it the most,” said Ferdinand.

“We’re all from estates and the kids of those estates needed people to look up to and be inspired by. We’re hoping to be part of that.”

Photo credit: Jake Ratcliffe