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Housing group pledges to build 1,500 affordable homes across mid and North Wales by 2022

A North Wales housing group has announced it will build around 300 homes over the next year – along with plans to create a total of 1,500 new homes by 2022.

Pennaf Housing Group, based in St Asaph, say it completed 135 housing units across North and Mid Wales in the financial year to March 2018. The group say this was achieved by working in partnership with six local authorities and the Welsh Government, as well as arranging private finance for both these and a number of separate initiatives.

The new homes planned in the current financial year include a mixture of general and supported housing to be managed by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association, which is part of the Pennaf Group, and by Offa, the group’s commercial property services arm.

They will also complete specialist homes for older people such as three new extra care schemes in Anglesey, Flintshire and Wrexham which will include a total of 196 self-contained apartments and communal facilities for those aged 60 and over who have some level of assessed support need.

Locally the group is set to complete a new development of 50 one and two bed affordable apartments to rent in Rivulet Road in Wrexham; as well as the new Maes y Dderwen extra care housing scheme on Grosvenor Road, which will include 60 one and two bed apartments and a wide range of communal facilities for those aged 60 and over.

Craig Sparrow, corporate director commercial services for Pennaf said: “We are working closely with our local authority partners across the region, as well with the Welsh Government to create a wide range of high-quality affordable housing options, meeting the priority housing needs in each specific county area.”

Clare Budden, group chief executive for Pennaf added: The Pennaf Group Business Plan includes a commitment to create a further 1500 new units of housing across north and mid Wales by 2022, representing an overall investment of more than £200m.

“This will not only provide much needed affordable homes for local people, it will also make a significant contribution to the economy of the area, creating and safeguarding jobs in the construction sector.

“Our commitment to creating great homes and thriving communities is made possible thanks to partnership working with local authorities and the Welsh Government. Together with our partners we are working to transform housing options across the region.”

Source: Wrexham

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Major Nottingham social housing project completed

One of the biggest housing regeneration projects in the city for decades has been completed in Lenton by Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes.

Over four years of development has seen the area completely transformed, with five tower blocks demolished to make way for 142 homes, including bungalows, flats, family homes and an award-winning independent living scheme which enables older residents to stay in their community as they age.

The centre of the new neighbourhood features a green corridor – a place for wildlife and nature to thrive, and for residents to relax.

Lenton has been the flagship project in the City Council’s Building a Better Nottingham programme, which has completed 411 new social housing properties on sites around the city, with more in progress or planned.

The outdated tower blocks, which had stood since the sixties, were demolished, transforming the skyline of the city – but they won’t be forgotten. A memory of them is preserved in the site, in the shape of a sculpture, crafted out of a tree removed from the site.

Cllr Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage at Nottingham City Council, said: We are transforming neighborhoods across the city, and creating a variety of quality homes, which, not only suit the differing needs of our citizens, but which are energy efficient, secure and warm.

“Lenton is a prime example of how we are not just building new homes, but completely transforming areas of the city. The flats were iconic and synonymous with the area, so it’s a big change for Lenton – but a positive change, providing modern homes and creating places where people want to live.”

The works were managed and overseen by city’s Arm’s Length Organisation (ALMO) Nottingham City Homes (NCH), who also manage the city’s council housing and recently won three accolades at the prestigious UK Housing Awards, including Landlord of the Year.

Work continues on Church Square in Lenton, to build another 17 affordable rented homes, with a number of other sites across the city also actively transforming neighbourhoods.

Source: West Bridgford Wire

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Sadiq Khan sets up new scheme to deliver 10,000 council homes by 2022

The Mayor of London has committed to supporting 10,000 new council homes in the next four years.

Sadiq Khan today offered new funding of £1.67bn to help councils in their quest to build new social housing. The money was secured in the chancellor’s Spring Statement.

This marks the first ever City Hall programme dedicated to supporting social housing.

The first deals struck under the initiative include a plan for 525 new homes in Waltham Forest, and 1,000 new homes in both Newham and Lewisham over the next four years.

Khan accused the government of having “turned its back” on local authorities and “hampering” their ability to build new homes.

“The government is failing to enable councils to replace the hundreds of thousands of council homes sold through Right to Buy, and so I will do all I can to help councils replace as many of them as possible,” he said.

He pledged to call for the government to give London councils access to increased borrowing limits to give greater flexibility.

Expertise and resources from City Hall will also be made available to local councils in the capital to scale up homebuilding programmes.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz OBE said: “Tens of thousands of Newham families are in desperate need of affordable, quality homes. I share the Mayor of London’s commitment to kick-start major council housebuilding in the capital as the only way we can realistically tackle the housing crisis.”

Source: City A.M.

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£50m funding paves way for 1,400 homes

A Worcester-headquartered social housing provider is set to build 1,400 homes across the region in the next two years after securing a £50m funding package from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Fortis Living will build a range of affordable homes in Evesham, Redditch and Worcester featuring one to four-bedroom houses, flats and bungalows.

The company, which also has an office in Malvern, has built more than 16,000 properties across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.

Ben Colyer, head of corporate finance and treasury at Fortis Living, said: “This new investment will help us support our current and future residents by meeting the increased demand for housing, particularly in more rural areas where there’s a shortage of newer, affordable houses for local people.

“This is our first time working with Lloyds Bank and the support and expertise its social housing team has provided has enabled us to secure a tailored funding package that’s exactly suited to our needs.”

Jatinder Dhaliwal, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Organisations like Fortis Living are doing a fantastic job of helping more people get on the property ladder and tackling increased housing pressures across the Midlands.

“As one of the UK’s leading lenders to the sector, we’re proud to be helping housing associations play their crucial role in providing high-quality, affordable homes across the UK. Our support forms part of our commitment to helping Britain prosper.”

Source: Insider Media

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Give housing developers ‘shot in the arm’ over council tax, ministers told

Housing developers should be given an “enormous shot in the arm” and charged council tax and business rates as soon as planning permission is granted, a Tory former minister has urged.

John Penrose told MPs “the meter should start running” immediately after developers are granted permission in order to ramp up house building.

His comments came after shadow housing secretary John Healey described the Government’s housing policy as a “bit like Groundhog Day” in that there had been “eight years of failure on all fronts”.

Statistics from the National House Building Council (NHBC) revealed last month the number of new houses registered to be built in the first three months of the year had fallen by 14% – the worst percentage fall in one three month period since 2012.

Mr Penrose, speaking in a Commons debate on house building, said: “To get developers building faster, councils should be able to charge business rates and council taxes starting from the day that planning permission is granted rather than when developers finally get round to start building.

“We could give big developers a few months’ grace till they get their crews on site but then the meter should start running so they would have a huge incentive to build and sell promptly rather than taking their time.”

He added: “Equally and importantly the same forces would apply to the hedge funds that own derelict brownfield land in town and city centres too.

“These sites already have old, unused permission so the clock would start ticking immediately. Just think of the enormous shot in the arm, the jolt of adrenaline we’d give to urban regeneration projects everywhere right across the country if the owners couldn’t sit on them for years any more waiting for something to turn up.”

MP portraits
John Penrose MP urged the Government to take action

He said: “After eight years of failure on all fronts, how is the answer more of the same? When since 2010 on home ownership we’ve seen a million fewer under-45s now owning their own home and the lowest level of home ownership for 30 years.

“How can the answer be more of the same on homeless when it’s risen every year since 2010 and we’ve now got 120,000 children growing up with no home. And how can the answer be more of the same when private renters have faced soaring rents, way ahead of income.”

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said housing was the Government’s “top domestic priority”, he said: “It is totally unacceptable that we still have people out on our streets and we must turn this situation around,” adding the pilot projects for Greater Manchester, Liverpool and West Midlands would be an important step.

He added: “Everyone deserves not just a roof over their heads but a safe, secure, affordable place to call home. It is the foundation on which everything is built, it is the Government’s top domestic priority.”

Laura Smith told MPs that she did not own her own home (PA)
Laura Smith told MPs that she did not own her own home (PA)

She said: “I wonder how many of us here have had to struggle to scrape together agency fees, find a deposit to put down on a rental property, find the first month’s rent while still paying all the other basic bills and essentials for their family and all the time whilst doing this dealing with the added pressure of trying to think about how to ever come out of that cycle of renting rather than owning your own property.

“Countless times I myself as a non-homeowner have been advised by well-meaning people that renting is throwing money away and I really ought to be saving for a deposit on my own property.

“Well I think I can speak for most privately renting and say of course that is the preferred route anyone would want but the likelihood of this happening is being made increasingly difficult due to the cost of living compared to income.

“People who rent are faced with significant upfront costs and often very short tenures and they have to pay more fees and find large deposits every single time they move.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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Plans for up to 400 homes near Nuneaton’s tip unveiled

Up to 400 homes could be built on land near to Nuneaton’s largest tip. Six months after initial plans were revealed, the proposals to build a mini housing estate on land off Tuttle Hill have now been submitted to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

When the proposal first emerged last November, it included plans for a local centre which would include uses such as a ‘canalside’ pub, doctor’s surgery, shops, a coffee shop and small hotel.

It is not known if these are included in the now submitted application as exact details are yet to be unveiled.

But Town Hall planners have set a decision date for the housing estate by July 3.

What does the application say?

As well as the homes, the application states that associated access works and landscaping works would be needed and open space would be provided within the development.

There would also be the need to build two bridges over the Coventry Canal.

At the end of November last year, households in the area were invited to a public exhibition about the plans.

Posters were put up in the area as well as leaflets.

‘High quality homes’

In the posters publicising the public consultation, FCC Environment, which owns the land around Judkins tip and is believed to be behind the fresh planning application, explained: “The site is located to the north of Tuttle Hill and would be accessed by improving the existing junction that serves the site and the existing Household Waste Recycling Centre.

“Preliminary designs for this improved access will be available to view. FCC Environment believe that this site could bring new high quality homes to this part of town in a way that is sympathetic to the character of the area and its setting.

“The housing development would contain new areas of public space and landscaping and provide a range of houses and flats from one to four bedroom.”

Source: Coventry Telegraph

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Record 350,000 planning permissions granted in England last year

Over 350,000 planning permissions were granted for houses across England last year, the highest since at least 2006.

According to a report from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and construction data firm Glenigan, planning permissions were granted for 351,169 new homes in 2017, a 21 per cent increase on the previous year.

The number of permissions granted last year is the highest since HBF and Glenigan started keeping records in 2006.

Housing minister Dominic Raab MP said:

“It’s great to see planning permission being granted for more than 350,000 properties last year – and double the number in 2010.

“We are very keen to do more to get Britain building which is why we’re reforming planning rules and investing billions in affordable housing and the infrastructure communities need.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said: “The record number of applications being submitted and approved is a clear demonstration of the industry’s commitment to ramping up housing supply even further than the unprecedented increases of the last four years.”

The record results come as the April IHS/Markit purchasing managers’ survey showed that house building has led the UK construction industry to a five-month high.

The survey revealed that residential construction work was by far the best performing category last month, with the rate of growth reaching its strongest since May 2017.

“The residential development pipeline remains strong,” said Glenigan’s economics director, Allan Wilen. “The increase in approvals bodes well for potential new housing activity over the coming year as housebuilders are able to bring forward development on these new sites in response to demand.”

Source: City A.M.

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Modular homes – the future of the British construction industry?

Last week the Government called for a more innovative approach to solving Britain’s housing shortage and is backing modern methods of construction, such as modular homes, to speed up housing delivery. The Government is calling on councils to set their own design quality standards and use virtual reality technology to win round communities and end ‘not in my backyard’ attitudes.

Factory-built modular homes could therefore be the future for the British construction industry – which is experiencing a slow but steady growth in the number of companies delivering pre-built modular housing.

One company aiming big is newly launched ILKE Homes – which aims to deliver 2,000 precision-engineered modular houses and low-rise flats to the UK market every year after recently setting up a factory in Harrogate. It’s modular homes can be built in half the time of brick-built houses and are capable of achieving zero carbon emissions. ILKE has been created by builders Keepmoat with the modular manufacturing firm Elliott – and it expects the current Yorkshire factory to grow staff numbers from 150 to 800 in the next 12 months.

ILKE Homes CEO Bjorn Conway said of the work they’re doing: ”Our mission is to address the UK’s chronic shortfall in affordable housing, creating consistently high-quality, energy-efficient modular homes at scale, to the people that need them most. The showrooms we have on display at a site in Doncaster are examples of affordable and private market properties that can be delivered for our partners like Keepmoat Homes. Using precision engineering and inspiring design, we look forward to working with our partners to create homes for families across the UK.”

The UK’s largest modular private residential development set to be built in Slough has recently been given planning permission – which follows a £600m investment from the ‘Heart of Slough’ regeneration scheme. With great connectivity to London – boosted by the arrival of Crossrail next year – the site will see 238 new apartments including 50 affordable homes, all set for completion next year. Building on the site wont start until October, and due to the off-site building methods installation of the units will take just 10 weeks!

Click Properties, the developer behind the project, said: ”Slough is undergoing a renaissance, making it a fantastic place to live and work. Our apartments will provide high-spec housing for a growing population, helping to meet the increased demands for homes.”

Another getting involved in the modular revolution is award-winning architect Richard Hywell Evans, who has created a prototype home for the modular housing brand nHouse. nHouse is hoping to sell to developers and housing associations, or individuals who want to build their own homes. The company has a new factory in Peterborough, where there’s a show home to display how the high-tech sustainable buildings can work. Whilst presenting early concepts for the design at MIPIM Richard Hywel Evans said ”We had a strong interest in our product which gave us the confidence to move on to the next level.”

With the need for housing increasing in the UK it’s clear that new innovative ways to develop homes to a high-quality quicker is needed. It’s likely to form part of the discussion on our housing panel at the Oxford Cambridge Corridor Economic Growth Conference where, if potential opportunities are unlocks to grow the economy, needs to see a large volume of additional housing built over the next 10-15 years to accommodate the growth.

Source: Built Environment Networking