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£1bn Housing Fund to Support Small Builders and Developers

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP has just confirmed a government partnership with Barclays Bank to provide loan financing valued at £1 billion. The money will be used to assist small builders and developers so that the thousands of new homes that England needs can be delivered more quickly.

Financial support of £5 million to £100 million per firm will be provided to small builders and developers who can prove their experience and dedication to building quality new homes in addition to a good track record of delivering complicated projects on time and within budget.

Homes England, the delivery agency for the government, will oversee the funding, which will emphasise a broader housing market. At present only ten companies build nearly two-thirds of the country’s new homes.

The Housing Delivery Fund will facilitate the construction of new homes, such as rental flats, retirement living, and social housing. It will also encourage more innovation in housing delivery, such as urban regeneration initiatives and brownfield land.

The Housing Secretary said that his priority was to start building the homes that the UK needs. The new partnership between Barclays and Homes England is another vital step by providing small builders and developers with access to the funds needed to get housing developments completed. He called it a terrific opportunity to not only build more homes but also promote innovative new approaches to design and construction.

Barclays Chairman John McFarlane said that there was a pressing need to build more high-quality homes across the UK. The £1bn fund will support this outcome by showing housebuilding firms that financing is available for housing projects that support this goal. He added that he was pleased to be working with the government to support more housebuilding in Britain.

Sir Ed Lister, Chairman of Homes England, said that his organisation was established to play a more active role in the property market and make it easier to deliver new homes.

The Housing Delivery Fund is greeted as evidence of Barclays’ support for the residential sector and will provide a new means of funding for small builders and developers to deliver more affordable homes throughout England.

The agreement with Barclays is part of a wider government commitment to speed up the delivery of affordable homes in England. There has been a clearly stated ambition to accomplish 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the next decade. 217,000 homes were built in 2017, so the target represents England’s biggest increase in housing for nearly a decade.

Source: CRL

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Would Small Sites and Small Builders Deliver New Homes Faster?

According to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the best way to deliver needed housing more quickly is to enable more small builders to rejoin the market and emphasise the potential of small build sites.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry responded to the Prime Minister’s speech on housebuilding in Britain by saying that small build sites are generally completed more quickly and smaller builders, who tend to be more concerned about short-term financing, have a strong incentive to build and sell quickly. If smaller developments receive more opportunities, the result could be a more diverse market, increased capacity, and faster delivery.

Mr. Berry said that the government has evidently recognised this fact and is putting forth national planning policy changes that will make it easier for more small build sites to be used. The FMB is especially appreciative of the move to ensure that smaller sites account for at least 20% of the sites earmarked for housing in local authority plans.

He pointed out that the pace of housebuilding cannot be dictated. Builders have little incentive to simply sit on land. Smaller builders, in particular, have a good reason to build and then sell as quickly as possible, so they can recoup their investment and move on. There are valid reasons why developments can be slowed down or stalled, such as financing problems and downturns in the market. Building a home is an important investment and builders who can’t be sure of selling won’t stay in business for long.

Mr. Berry concluded that developers with a poor delivery track record and those who apply for planning permission purely on a speculative basis deserve push back, but the UK Government needs to prevent rhetoric from dominating reality. It must recognise that any attempt to compel building at a commercially illogical speed could end up slowing down the rate of delivery. This outcome could discourage the newer and smaller builders needed to diversify the market.

Source: CRL

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Theresa May calls for end to social housing ‘stigma’ as she pledges £2bn for new homes

Theresa May is pledging a £2bn handout to housing associations in a bid to provide tens of thousands of new affordable homes.

Claiming it is her personal mission to get more people on the housing ladder, the Prime Minister is promising long-term funding for housing associations.

In a speech at a National Housing Federation summit, Mrs May will say housing associations have a central role to play in building homes and challenging attitudes about social housing.

“You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals,” she will say.

“Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600m and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.

“And today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2bn initiative.

“Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028/29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.

“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”

The £2bn programme will be available from 2022, Mrs May will say.

Calling for a change in attitudes towards affordable and social housing, the Prime Minister will also say: “For many people, a certain stigma still clings to social housing.

“Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority.

“And on the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home.

“I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens.”

Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey said Mrs May’s promises “fall far short of what’s needed”.

He said: “The reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.

“If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council house-building programme for over 30 years.”

The National Housing Federation’s chief executive David Orr welcomed the Prime Minister’s pledge.

He said: “The announcement of £2bn of new money for social housing is extremely welcome.

“But the really big news here is the Prime Minister’s long-term commitment to funding new affordable homes. This represents a total step change. For years, the way that money was allocated meant housing associations couldn’t be sure of long-term funding to build much-needed affordable housing.

“Now, by changing the way in which they allocate funding, ministers have given long-term confidence and confirmed that we are trusted partners in solving the housing crisis, building new homes and communities.

“Ultimately, this will have a huge impact on building the affordable homes that thousands of people across the country desperately need.”

Source: Yahoo News UK

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£1bn loan fund to support housebuilders

Barclays has partnered with the UK government to provide £1bn of loan finance to support small- and medium-sized housing developers.

Support ranging from £5m to £100m will be made available to developers, overseen by Homes England.

The Housing Delivery Fund will support the development of new homes, including social housing, retirement living and apartments for rent, as well as encouraging greater innovation, such as through the use of brownfield land and urban regeneration projects.

It aims to help open up the housing market; currently almost two-thirds of new homes are built by just ten companies.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire said: “My priority as Housing Secretary is to get Britain building the homes our country needs.  This new fund – partnering Homes England with Barclays – is a further important step by giving smaller builders access to the finance they need to get housing developments off the ground.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built but also promote new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market.”

John McFarlane, Barclays’ chairman, added: “There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country.  This £1bn fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need.

“We are very pleased to be working with government to get the country building more homes, more quickly.”

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New £1bn housing development fund ‘will help smaller builders access finance’

A £1 billion fund to help boost house building across England and give smaller builders more access to finance has been announced.

Barclays is providing £875 million of the fund and Homes England, the Government’s housing agency, will contribute £125 million.

The money will be used as development finance to help build thousands of new homes across England to help increase the pace and number of homes being built, Barclays said.

Loans ranging from £5 million to £100 million are being made available for developers and house builders.

Barclays said funding is open to new and existing clients and will help diversify the housing market, as at present, nearly two-thirds of homes are built by just 10 companies.

Those behind the initiative said a key priority was supporting small and medium-sized businesses to develop homes for rent or sale, including social housing, retirement living and the private rented sector, while also helping innovation.

John McFarlane, Barclays’ chairman, said: “There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country.

“This £1 billion fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need.

“We are very pleased to be working with government to get the country building more homes, more quickly.”

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said: “This new fund, partnering Homes England with Barclays, is a further important step by giving smaller builders access to the finance they need to get housing developments off the ground.”

Chairman of Homes England, Sir Ed Lister, said the Housing Delivery Fund “will provide a new funding stream for SME developers to help progress sites and deliver more affordable homes across England”.

The agreement with Barclays forms part of the Government’s aim to achieve 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, following 217,000 homes built last year.

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Row over 100 home development at former Boroughmuir High School

Revised proposals to redevelop a former city school into housing has been recommended for approval by council officers – but a row has emerged over affordable homes. CALA Homes’ plans to transform the former Boroughmuir High School on Viewforth into more than 100 homes have been given the thumbs up by planning officers ahead of Wednesday’s Development Management Sub-Committee.

In April last year, planning permission was refused for the change of use and conversion of the school into homes – while unusually, listed building consent was approved.

The developers appealed the decision, but it was dismissed over worries regarding the design of the affordable housing block. The new proposals would see 104 residential units made available, along with 98 car parking spaces and 223 cycle spaces.

Gavin Pope, land director at CALA Homes East, said: “Our approach to redeveloping Boroughmuir High School would create much needed homes in the city while ensuring one of its most distinctive buildings is preserved. “Plans centre on completely restoring the school house building with new apartments occupying former classrooms while a bright, open courtyard provides bridged access throughout the building.

“At this stage we thank the local community and key stakeholders for their feedback throughout the process which helped us refine our plans for the development.”

If approved, classrooms would be converted into 87 flats, while a new residential block would be built on the site – along with parking, landscaping and bin storage. The new block would be five stories high and contain nine residential properties.

Developers want to demolish three existing outbuildings. Changes to the main school building would include building a metal walkways within the existing courtyards for access, to extend the height of some windows on the front and rear elevations and to reinstate windows following the demolition of the outbuilding.

A local councillor has raised concerns that only 17 affordable homes will be included in the scheme, with the city pledging to build 10,00 affordable homes over the next 10 years.

Green ward Cllr Melanie Main said: “Edinburgh is desperately short of genuinely affordable housing. The minimum required at Broughmuir is 26. But only 17 homes are to be provided and it’s not clear if they are to be social housing, which is what the city really needs.

Developers need to step up to the mark and commit to building  their share of the affordable housing. The affordable homes will be made up of 12 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom flats, which will have access to 11 parking spaces.

These homes would be delivered by Link Housing Association. As part of the plans, five trees would be removed from the site.

Source: Scotsman

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More than 600 homes to be built off A46

More than 600 new homes are going to be built just off the A46 near Coventry.

The homes are going to be built just east of Kenilworth, near to Woodside Conference Centre and Crewe Lane.

Work could start as soon as next year, with people moving in by 2020.

The amount of homes to be built near Stoneleigh has already been reduced from 690 to 640 after two public consultations this year.

What is planned?

An Outline Planning Application has been submitted to Warwick District Council for:

  • Up to 640 new homes in a range of sizes and styles
  • 40% affordable housing
  • Roundabout access onto Glasshouse Lane and a new link road to Crewe Lane
  • Funding for improvements to the local highways network
  • Onsite community facility and allotments
  • Funding of new and extended bus services
  • Retention and protection of Glass House Spinney, ancient woodland and Scheduled Ancient Monument (a buried Roman Villa)
  • Significant financial contributions towards education and healthcare improvements
  • New equipped play areas and footpaths and cycle routes

What have the developers say?

Warwick District Council, Kenilworth Town Council have been working with the developers to shape the final plans, which have included reducing the number of houses being built.

Ed Barrett, Senior Planning Manager for Catesby Estates said “We have worked with Warwick District Council, county councils and Kenilworth Town Council to bring forward this well located and sustainable housing site.

“We held two public consultation events earlier this year and used the feedback from local residents to shape our final plans, which included reducing the maximum number of homes proposed from 690 to 640, provision of a new community hall and allotments along with a raft of highways improvements.”

“The need for additional new homes in the area is well recognised by the local community, and with the inclusion of 40% affordable housing we will be giving those looking to take their first steps on the housing ladder a welcome boost.”

Consultation period

There will be a statutory consultation period, where anyone who wishes to make their views known on the development, can submit they comments to Warwick District Council, before it goes before the planning committee later this year.

If the application is approved, builders could be on site in 2019 with the first residents moving in in 2020.

Source: Coventry Telegraph