Lovell chosen for 130-home Manchester scheme

Lovell chosen for 130-home Manchester schemeLovell has been appointed by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) for a £11.7m design-and-build contract to deliver 130 new affordable homes for local people in Wythenshawe, south Manchester.

The development – on a brownfield site at Greenbrow Road, west Wythenshawe – will create 52 houses for sale and shared ownership and 78 apartments for affordable rent through WCHG.

Construction work by Lovell – which has its North West regional office in Altrincham – recently got under way on land formerly occupied by five blocks of flats owned by WCHG. The new homes are set to be completed in January 2018. The scheme was awarded to Lovell following a competitive tendering process.

Nigel Wilson, Group chief executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, says: “We are delighted to launch this exciting new project and create much-needed affordable housing for this area. This will be another landmark development for the Group following on from Village 135.”

Lovell regional director Nigel Yates says: “We’re delighted to be working once again with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group helping deliver its major new-build housing programme.

This development will bring a mix of smart modern new homes, available for rent, shared ownership and sale, to an area which has a real shortage of family homes as well as housing suitable for single people and first-time buyers. High levels of energy-efficiency will be built into the new homes helping residents save on fuel bills.”

The new homes will be built to the equivalent of Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes incorporating high-efficiency boilers, high-specification floor and cavity insulation.

Keepmoat gets Wakefield housing scheme

Keepmoat gets Wakefield housing schemeKeepmoat has been granted planning permission to build 100 new homes in Kinsley, Wakefield, paving the way for economic growth and new jobs.

The firm, which recently expanded in the region with the launch of an office in Leeds, has now secured three major projects in as many months, with work on brownfield developments across Leeds, as well as the Seacroft Hospital site already in the pipeline.

Keepmoat will now deliver two and three bedroom homes at land off Spring Close; prompted by the success of existing schemes at Fitzwilliam and Frickley.

Keepmoat’s Kinsley development is the latest in the Wakefield district involving a ‘stalled site’ – land which had previously had planning permission but remained undeveloped. 

Wakefield Council launched its ‘Wakefield Builds’ campaign which aims to increase the number of new homes built across the district through schemes such as matching developers with stalled sites such as the one in Kinsley.

Councillor Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Skills, said: “We are committed to stimulating housing growth across the district, and Keepmoat’s development is a prime example of this.

Not only will the development lead to even more quality homes being built in the area, but it also demonstrates how developers can work with our ‘Wakefield Builds’ campaign to unlock stalled sites.”

Building work on the new homes is expected to progress in November this year.

Housing decisions in Scotland faster than previous year

Housing decisions in Scotland faster than previous yearLatest quarterly statistics show faster average decision times for major and local housing developments compared to the equivalent quarter last year.

Local developments include applications for household extensions and loft conversions etc, smaller housing and retail developments, as well as various other types of local developments.

Major developments include applications for developments of 50 or more homes, as well as certain waste, water, transport and energy-related developments, larger retail developments, and other types of major developments.

The overall rate of approvals for all types of application was 94.0% in the period October to December 2015, the same as the previous quarter (94.0%) but an increase compared to the equivalent quarter three in 2014/15 (93.1%).

For the 1,432 decisions made on local housing developments the average decision time of 13.6 weeks was almost 4 days slower than the previous quarter (13.1 weeks) but 2 days quicker than the equivalent quarter in 2014/15 (13.9 weeks).

There were a further nine major housing applications concluded that were subject to separate processing agreements, of which eight (89%) met the agreed timescale that had been set between the developer and the local authority.

There were also a further 39 local housing applications concluded that were subject to separate processing agreements, of which 23 (59%) met the agreed timescale.

The figures released were produced by independent statistical staff free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Go-ahead for Berkeley’s Southall masterplan

Go-ahead for Berkeley’s Southall masterplanA masterplan has been given the go-ahead for the regeneration of the former Southall Gasworks, paving the way for construction of 3,750 new homes in the London Borough of Ealing.

The Berkeley Group is planning to redevelop the 88-acre brownfield site to build Southall Waterside, which will also include 46,000m2 of commercial space, a two form entry primary school, a health centre and substantial green space.

Work is expected to start on site this year and the scheme will be delivered in a number of phases over a 25 year period that will pave the way for new jobs.

The revised masterplan will see more than half the site set aside for open space, including landscaped public parkland, leisure and play spaces, and piazzas.

Berkeley is now preparing a detailed planning application for Phase A of the development. This is expected to include 618 new homes in the northeast corner of the scheme, of which 186 are designated affordable. It also features roads, parking, landscaping and access to public realm.

Subject to approvals, first completions for Phase A are anticipated for mid-2018.

Berkeley Group executive director Sean Ellis said: “These gasworks closed almost 50 years ago, so approval of the Southall Waterside masterplan marks the start of an exciting new future for this 88 acre site. It is the largest regeneration scheme in West London.

It creates a much more diverse residential and commercial offer for Southall. And when 80% of new homes currently planned for the capital are in just three East London boroughs, this provides some welcome balance.”

Go-ahead for London’s Lambeth council homes

Go-ahead for London’s Lambeth council homesLambeth Council’s Cabinet has given the go-ahead to redevelop the Cressingham Gardens estate under plans to build new homes.

The decision allows Lambeth to replace all the 306 homes, many of which are in a poor state of repair, and provide extra properties for council rent on the estate.

The redevelopment will provide a minimum of 464 new homes – a net gain of 158 extra homes.

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Rebuilding Cressingham Gardens will mean all homes on the estate will be rebuilt, with no loss of social housing.

The proposal would provide a new home for each tenant, at council rent levels, with a lifetime tenancy and enough rooms to meet their needs.”

It will also mean at least 158 extra homes, 47% of which will be affordable homes. It will mean at least 75 extra homes for rent for families on Lambeth’s waiting list of over 21,000 people, and it would mean at least 27 extra family-sized homes for council.”

Cressingham Gardens is one of six estates on the Council’s estate regeneration programme, which has been set up to find ways to improve the quality and size of homes on Lambeth’s housing estates.

The programme also aims to invest in the wider neighbourhood and increase the number of homes on those estates. The programme will contribute towards the Council’s commitment to provide 1,000 extra homes for council rent for local families.

Blackpool tower blocks set for demolition

Blackpool tower blocks set for demolitionThis will see the demolition of the three remaining towers and the maisonette blocks to the south of Stirling Road.

A further 99 new homes will then be constructed to complete the transformation of the Queens Park neighbourhood by Spring 2018.

The maisonettes are already being demolished but the three remaining tower blocks at Elizabeth Court, Churchill Court and Walter Robinson Court will be brought down by an explosive demolition in early summer 2016.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, says: “The first phase of the Queens Park redevelopment has dramatically changed the area but the old buildings are still an eyesore and are standing in the way of a completely transformed estate.

The tower blocks have been a familiar sight on Blackpool skyline for so many years that it will feel very strange once they have gone.

As the plans progress we will keep local residents and businesses updated on the exclusion zone and make sure that everyone is fully informed ahead of the demolition.”

Lovell project manager Peter Lewis says: “Following the successful completion of the first phase of redevelopment work at Queens Park, phase 2 is now under way.

We’re excited to be working on the next stage of this major scheme which is transforming the neighbourhood and creating modern, high-quality homes for local people.

I’d also like to thank residents and local businesses for the patience, understanding and support which they have shown our team during the redevelopment work.”

Lovell has appointed specialist contractor Forshaw Demolition, one of the North West’s leading demolition experts, to carry out the demolition programme.

The demolition is likely to take place on a Sunday to minimise disruption and some residents will need to leave their properties while this happens.

Further information will be available in the coming months and all affected businesses and residents will receive a visit from the demolition team.

House building starts hit 7-year high

House building starts hit 7-year highThe number of starts and completions on new build homes continued to rise last year to the highest level since 2008, new figures released today show.

More than 143,500 new build homes were started up to December 2015 – a rise of 23% on the same quarter a year earlier and up 91% when compared to the low point of the year up to June 2009.

The House building: December quarter 2015 also showed that the number of new build homes completed were up 21% on the previous year.

It means both starts and completions for new build homes are at their highest level since 2008 with more than 700,000 new build homes started since April 2010.

Meanwhile, figures from the Home Builders Federation also published today show a 12% rise in planning permissions on the same quarter last year, paving the way for new jobs in the building trades.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “Aspiring homeowners should get the help they need to turn their dream into a reality – key to that is building the homes our country needs.

Today’s figures show how our reforms to the planning system are delivering the permissions needed and schemes like Help to Buy have given builders the confidence to invest and build, with starts and completions now at their highest since 2008.

But we’re determined to do even more, and fulfil our ambition to deliver 1 million new homes by 2021.”

Housebuilding growth across the country

Today’s figures show that the number of new build homes completed by private housebuilders have risen 20% on the previous year, while those completed by housing associations are up 27% over the same period.

They also show strong regional growth with Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire experiencing high levels of starts along with areas in North Oxfordshire and the Thames estuary.

Figures also released today by the Home Builders Federation show that planning permission for 59,875 homes was granted in England during the third quarter of last year, up 12% from 53,409 permissions in the corresponding quarter the previous year.

Fast track planning to boost house building

House building UKCouncils are set to process planning applications quicker and be able to offer fast track application services which will boost house builders.

Ministers want the pilots to tackle the lack of incentive for councils to improve and speed up their planning service leading to “drawn out applications and local frustration” for both housebuilders and individual applicants.

The proposals are expected to boost housebuilding and speed up the planning application process.

The proposals will increase local choice by giving applicants the choice of whether to submit their plans to the local council, a competing council or a government approved organisation that would process applications up until the decision point.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “Council planning departments play a vital role in getting local housebuilding off the ground, but for too long they have had no incentive to get things done quickly or better, resulting in drawn out applications and local frustration.

These proposals will be a first time boost for housebuilders looking to build much needed new homes for hard working families and buyers, and for local people looking to get a planning permission for home improvements through their local council quicker.”

Federation of Master Builders Chief Executive Brian Berry said: “The slow processing of planning applications remains one of the greatest barriers to building more new homes.

We welcome the government’s determination to find new and innovative ways of addressing this problem as it could help builders deliver more homes.”

Help to Buy scheme boosts house building

House building UKNew research has found that 43% of new homes built under the Help to Buy, equity loan scheme for aspiring homeowners, would have not been built without introduction of the scheme.

A report published today also found that 82% of buyers under Help to Buy: equity loan would not have been able to purchase their home without the scheme helping them meet their ownership aspirations.

Launched in 2013, the Help to Buy scheme was set up to support hard-working people who could pay a mortgage but struggle to save the deposits required by lenders.

Now more than 130,000 people have now been able to become homeowners since the launch.

The report found no evidence that the scheme has driven up house prices but did find that housebuilders have much more confidence in the housing market.

Help to Buy scheme boosts house buildingHousing Minister Brandon Lewis said: Anyone who works hard and aspires to own their own home should have the opportunity to do so and this report shows how the government’s Help to Buy scheme continues to turn those dreams into a reality.

We’ve got the country building again and seen the number of new homes increase by 25% in the last year alone with thousands of people across the country helped by the scheme.”

The number of owners assisted by other government schemes is also expected to continue rising through London Help to Buy and the Help to Buy: ISA, which has now been opened by more than 250,000 people.

Confidence in the market

Help to Buy is supporting the country’s economy by getting Britain building again.

The report shows that builders have seen improved confidence in the market because of the scheme and that it has encouraged more lenders to enter the market. It is also helping people move up to bigger homes.

The research found that the average price of homes under the scheme is £212,000, £55,000 below the UK average of £267,000 and that it has brought down the average deposit needed.

Help to Buy: equity loan has been extended to 2021 through a further £8.6 billion and will help up to 145,000 more people take steps towards owning their own home.