Major investment for new homes in Newcastle

Major investment for new homes in NewcastleRegeneration work is underway on Tree Top Village in Walker, the East End of Newcastle, which will create a brand new community that will help economic growth and boost the trades.

The development is part of Newcastle City Council’s Older People’s Housing Delivery Plan to provide a range of affordable housing options for older people.

This £13 million project is being funded by the council with a £2.3 million contribution from the Homes and Communities Agency.

The project is being delivered by Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) who is working with national developer, Wates Living Space Homes.

Resident involvement has been at the heart of the project and YHN has carried out consultation with local residents as well as local school children who took part in a competition to name the development.

The development is being delivered in two phases. The main building will create a total of 75 new homes and will have warden support available for residents.

There will be 45 two bedroom and 30 one bedroom apartments built around a central courtyard, where a range of services will be provided that will be open to everyone.

Features being considered include a restaurant, IT facilities and a hair salon, and will encourage residents and the wider community to come together and socialise in a friendly, relaxed environment.

David Langhorne, Director of Property Services at YHN said “This is the largest new build scheme we’ve embarked on in a number of years and it’s really exciting to be involved.

We are extremely pleased with the standard of accommodation being provided and are now working with potential partners to secure a range of local amenities and create a real community feel.

This is a unique opportunity to build on previous regeneration in the Walker area, and build modern, high quality homes for the city’s older residents”.

Regeneration scheme to deliver thousands of new properties and jobs

Regeneration scheme to deliver thousands of new properties and jobsA massive programme of development of railway stations and surrounding land will deliver thousands of new homes and jobs that will boost local growth.

The agreement between Network Rail and the Homes and Communities Agency will see them working with local councils to kick-start development opportunities across England’s railway stations for housing and businesses.

The ambitious initiative could deliver up to 10,000 new properties on sites around stations in the coming years.

Government wants to hear from at least 20 local authorities to take the scheme forward.

Drawing on the example set by the transformation of Birmingham New Street, Manchester Victoria and London Kings Cross, government will bring together high-calibre technical expertise and local knowledge to increase development opportunities that exist throughout the entire rail estate.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “We’re determined to fire up communities and back local business so they build much needed housing and create thousands of jobs.

Rail stations are a hub of communities, connectivity and commerce and should be making the most of their unique potential to attract investment and opportunities.

With record numbers of people travelling by train, it makes sense to bring people closer to stations and develop sites that have space for thousands of new homes and offices.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “As a one nation government we are determined to ensure further opportunities are grasped to put stations at the heart of wider community regeneration.

This will help deliver thousands of new homes and jobs and deliver a substantial return to the taxpayer.”

Work gets underway on £90m Morpeth housing scheme

Work gets underway on £90m Morpeth housing schemeWork has begun on a £90 million development project which will revive a former hospital site, creating a mixed tenure community in a green, woodland setting.

A partnership comprising the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Galliford Try and Home Group will transform the disused and derelict St. George’s Hospital, just half a mile from the centre of Northumberland’s County Town, Morpeth.

The project will deliver a mixture of 374 high quality properties from two bedroomed apartments to five bedroomed executive homes, for sale and affordable rent.

All will be designed and built by Linden Homes – Galliford Try’s house building division – and will be exclusive to this site. The developer’s track record of sympathetic design was a key factor in it being selected by the HCA.

Stephen McCoy, Managing Director with Galliford Try said: “The aim is to create a high quality housing development, integrated into the surrounding area by linking to and enhancing existing natural features – including the adjacent Bluebell and Howburn Woods,”

The regeneration project will also provide significant public open space that will produce a development that is very different to anything else available in the area.”

Work on the 374 properties will take place in phases. The first will see 121 homes built, of which 36 will be affordable with 22 available for rent and 14 for shared ownership.

The proposal was given approval by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee in March following public consultation – the feedback from which was used to inform the design of the scheme.

HCA exceeds house-building delivery targets

HCA exceeds house-building delivery targetsGovernment’s aspiration for building affordable homes has exceeded its target by over 11,000, the latest HCA’s set of six-monthly housing statistics revealed this month.

A total of 179,170 homes of all tenures were completed through programmes run by the Homes and Communities Agency during the 2011 to 2015 Spending Review period.

51,187 of those were delivered in the final year (2014 to 2015).

HCA Chief Executive, Andy Rose, said: “2014 to 2015 was a strong year of delivery for the agency. It was the final year of the 2011 to 2015 spending period, and I am pleased that we exceeded our completion forecasts across the range of our programmes which all help to support the housing ambitions of local places and communities.

In doing so, we have exceeded our anticipated contribution to government’s aspiration of up to 170,000 new affordable homes.

We look forward to working with the new government to help maintain the momentum in delivering new homes across all tenures, and ultimately, create successful places with homes and jobs.”

According to the HCA’s latest set of six-monthly housing statistics published this month, of the 51,187 homes completed in 2014 to 2015, 41,312 or 81% were affordable, an increase of 50% on the previous year.

The remainder, 9,875, were for sale on the open market, an increase of 45% on the year before.

During the year, there were a further 27,414 homes completed with the assistance of the Help to Buy equity loan programme, designed to help people, particularly first time buyers, into home ownership.

All of these programmes and homes help to drive overall housing supply, meeting a range of housing needs in local communities and contributing to local growth.

Download the complete set of housing statistics.

St Vincent picks Lovell for Lancashire homes scheme

St Vincent’s picks Lovell for Lancashire homes schemeSt Vincent’s Housing Association has appointed housing developer Lovell to build a £2.6 million development of high-quality affordable apartments for older residents in Billington, Lancashire.

The new two-storey apartment block on land off Elker Lane will create 19 modern, self-contained two-bedroom homes, for shared ownership or affordable rent, for residents aged 55 and over.

The development is designed by Manchester-based architectural practice Jennings Design Associates incorporating the 10 ‘HAPPI’ (Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation) design principles.

Construction work is starting later this month (April) on the development which is due for completion in spring 2016.

Working in partnership with Ribble Valley Borough Council, funding is being provided by the Department of Health, the Homes and Communities Agency and St Vincent’s Housing Association.

Rachel O’Connor, St Vincent’s development manager said: “Billington is a lovely area and will provide the backdrop to a stunning development of apartments for both affordable rent and shared ownership for those wanting a high-quality, easily managed home.This is a great opportunity for St Vincent’s to provide a first-class development for local people.”

Lovell regional director Nigel Yates comments: “We’re delighted to be working with St Vincent’s on this project creating much-needed high-quality modern homes for older residents.

The scheme will provide light and airy, well-designed private apartments complemented by high-quality communal facilities and attractive communal gardens.”

Residents will have access to shared facilities including a ground-floor communal lounge, communal garden and extensive landscaped grounds, including residents’ allotments.  All homes will incorporate high levels of energy-efficiency meeting Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes measure for assessing environmental performance.

Social housing sector remains attractive to investors

Social housing sector remains attractive to investorsThe social housing sector remains attractive to lenders, with significant amounts of cash available for building work, according to the latest quarterly survey published by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The regulator monitors and reports on the financial health of the sector as part of a robust approach to protecting social housing assets and helping ensure providers’ contribution to new housing supply.

The 2014 to 2015 Q3 survey reports that the sector’s borrowing facilities total £74.5 billion – of which 75% is bank loans – with £12.3 billion of undrawn facilities. The vast majority of providers anticipate that debt facilities are sufficient for more than 12 months.

Jonathan Walters, Deputy Director of Regulation at the HCA, said: “We continue to monitor the sector’s financial health, and that of individual providers, closely. Overall, the sector remains financially strong and the sector’s position on meeting mark-to-market exposures, for example, remains positive.

However, providers will be aware that economic conditions remain relatively favourable with low interest rates and increasing sales values, and should monitor their business plan assumptions accordingly. We have recently seen the swap curve fall below 2012 levels; a development that we will continue to monitor. Providers should do the same.

The regulator’s message remains that the sector is increasingly complex and providers must have a firm grip on the risks they face, with appropriate management strategies in place to mitigate those risks.”

Plans approved for Cornwall’s custom build housing project

Plans approved for Cornwall’s custom build housing projectPeople can soon design their dream home at one of England’s biggest dedicated custom build sites after proposals to bring nearly 150 new and affordable homes to Cornwall were backed by planners.

Cornwall Council’s approval of Carillion-Igloo and Coastline Housing’s planning applications to build 144 homes beside the Heartlands regeneration project at Trevenson Park, Pool, enables construction work and marketing to start later this year.

The development includes 54 Custom Build plots, which will offer people from across Cornwall the chance to design and build their own home with a manufacturer chosen from Carillion-igloo’s specialist panel.

This site is one of the Homes and Communities Agency’s biggest Custom Build projects and is set up by Government to boost house-building by unlocking a wave of new homes designed and built by their owners.

Coastline Housing will also develop 90 new and affordable homes, which includes a well-designed block of 23 flats for older people overlooking the Heartlands Park.

It is estimated that around 200 full time equivalent annual jobs will be created by the construction work, with the majority of jobs going to people who live in Cornwall.

HCA area manager Paul Britton said: “This project clearly demonstrates one of the many approaches we are taking to provide more opportunities for people to get the homes they can afford in Cornwall.

Custom Build offers people a more accessible route onto the housing ladder whilst providing an opportunity for people to design the home of their dreams. We know there is high demand for more homes in Cornwall, which has a history of ‘self build’ housing.

This scheme from Carillion-igloo and Coastline will make a positive contribution. I look forward to seeing the new homes come forward on this important and exciting site.”

Carillion-igloo head of custom build housing Jon Sawyer said: “Carillion-igloo are very excited about securing planning for 54 Custom Build homes in Cornwall, which is an important milestone for this project and the custom build housing sector as a whole.

We are grateful for the support of our partners HCA and Coastline and the pragmatism of Cornwall Council in adopting a new approach to approving the appearance of homes, the first of its type in the UK.

We will now be working hard to make the first serviced plots available in the spring and we aim to see the first custom build homes coming out of the ground by the end of 2015.”

Go-ahead to a £100m Forest of Dean regeneration

Go-ahead to £100m Forest of Dean regenerationBuilding work is set to start on the £100 million regeneration of a former Forest of Dean mining area after plans were given the go-aheead by the Forest of Dean District Council.

The Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) planning application to build a new access road, business space and a new college facility was welcomed by supporters as a ‘massive boost’ for the district.

The planning committee decision will unlock investment opportunities and create around 1,000 new jobs to the district, while boosting the local constructon industry

An outline planning application for a new hotel, employment and business space, a visitor information point and up to 195 new homes were also approved as part of the application.

David Warburton, HCA head of area, told the committee meeting that the project represented a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ for the Forest of Dean.

He said: “This decision will help to bring huge benefits to the Forest of Dean for generations to come and is a massive boost for the area. Local people and councillors have supported proposals for the regeneration of this former mining area for years. Their continued support has been demonstrated by their strong backing of the proposals.

A great deal of work has been undertaken and investment made to get to this stage, in progressing plans, preparing the site and carrying out extensive ecological measures. The next phase of hard work starts now and we will work with partners to help make their vision for the Northern Quarter a reality.”

Leader of Forest of Dean district council Patrick Molyneux said: “This is a huge step forward in implementing our vision for Cinderford. The decision removes uncertainty and means that working in partnership we can now progress the regeneration of the Northern Quarter in Cinderford for the benefit of local residents and the district’s economy.”

Councillor Graham Morgan Chairman of the Cinderford Regeneration Board said: “This is fantastic news and provides a huge opportunity for people in the Forest. We have already been receiving enquiries from businesses who want to move to the Northern Quarter, which shows confidence in the project.”

The HCA has already started its search for a development partner to lead the construction of the new access road. Once an appointment is made construction work will start next year, after the completion of extensive environmental work, which is expected by next spring.

Bidding opens on £800m of affordable homes investment

Bidding opens on £800m of affordable homes investmentHousing providers in England will be able to bid for a share of £800 million through the HCA’s continuous market engagement approach.

The second phase of bidding under the Homes and Communities Agency’s £1.7 billion Affordable Homes Programme will see the building of 43,821 new affordable homes.

The £1.7 billion total investment will make a significant contribution to the government’s ambition for 165,000 new affordable homes by March 2018, while boosting overall housing supply and local economic growth.

Opening up to bids under this approach will allow housing providers further opportunities to bring forward schemes for delivery during the 2015 to 2018 period.

These will include specialist, supported or rural housing, which can often require a longer lead time, and these, along with schemes making use of advance housing manufacture, are especially encouraged under CME.

HCA Chief Executive Andy Rose said: “We have already set in place a solid delivery programme that puts us on track to make a significant contribution towards government’s aspirations for up to 165,000 new affordable homes by March 2018, while supporting overall housing supply and local people and places. It will also help ensure a smooth transition from our current Affordable Homes Programme, delivering firm schemes that can start on site promptly.

“Opening for bidding for the remaining funding under CME will give new and existing partners the opportunity to bring forward bids to meet their future development aspirations.

“We will use our strong relationships with local authorities to ensure that allocations under the Affordable Homes Programme continue to support local priorities.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The government is delivering on affordable housing for the communities and people of this country with more than 200,000 new affordable homes since 2010.

“Our latest investment is a clear sign of the government’s continued commitment to increasing the overall housing supply and affordable housing in particular. As well as building homes this funding is also a key part of our long-term economic plan, creating construction jobs as we deliver a further 165,000 new affordable homes from 2015.”

Go-ahead for new affordable homes in Swindon

Go-ahead for new affordable homes in SwindonBuilding work got underway on 48 new affordable homes in Swindon that will help the local economy and boost the trades.

Provided by Jephson Homes Housing Association, which has a local office in Swindon, the £6.2 million development in Highworth Road is supported by Swindon Borough Council and backed with a £330,000 investment by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Due for completion in summer 2015, the scheme will have a mix of homes from one to four bedrooms, which will all be let and sold to local people in housing need. The brownfield site was formerly a Council works depot, which laid unused for several years.

Built by independent, Bristol-based contractors mi-space, the project will also include a natural play area for children as part of the planning agreement.

Jephson’s regional director for the south and west, Roger Glennie, said: “It’s good to get this scheme underway after getting planning permission on appeal. We’re creating some really attractive, modern homes for local people.”

Tracey Hancock, area manager from the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We support the building of many thousands of homes across England, so we know how important new properties like these are to local people. It’s great that work has started on the scheme and I look forward to seeing the homes complete and lived in soon.”

Lex Cumber, business development director at mi-space, said:“We’re really enjoying working with Jephson on this scheme. They allowed the time for us to design the homes to exactly match the site.

“For example, we’ve been able to build in extra sound insulation. We try to create as much social value as we can from our projects, so we’re mainly using local firms from within the SN postcode area for materials and supplies.”