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Pickles grants the go-ahead for 2,000 new homes

A property development company, Cala Homes, has been given the go-ahead to build 2,000 homes near Winchester which will create new jobs and boost the building industry.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has approved the developer’s plan for building thousands of new homes at the 230-acre Barton Farm site to the north of Winchester.

The scheme is intended to provide 40% affordable housing. It would make a valuable contribution to local businesses and boost the local economy.

The decision by the Communities Secretary paves the way for Cala to begin developing the site. Plans include the building of around 800 affordable homes, with supporting infrastructure and community facilities to help meet Winchester’s housing needs.

Group land director for Cala, Robert Millar, said: “Local people will benefit greatly from this decision. It will be a major contributor to stimulating the local economy and creating long term jobs.

“It will make a significant contribution to the chronic shortage of affordable housing enabling key workers and other local people to live in their own City.”

Mr Millar said that Cala will be examining the detailed design for each of the phases of this development to ensure the housing scheme is delivered as soon as possible.

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Ed Balls Goes For New Affordable Homes

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has called for the building of 100,000 affordable homes that will boost the economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the construction industry.  

Today’s announcement comes as the shadow chancellor used his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester to demand radical measures to kick-start the economy and increase infrastructure spending.

Ed Balls said that a windfall of up to £4 billion is to come from the sale of the 4G mobile phone spectrum. This money could be used to fund the building of more affordable homes which will boost the trades and help people get on the property ladder.

Mr Balls said: “Let’s use that money from the 4G sale and build over the next two years 100,000 new homes – affordable homes to rent and to buy – creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and getting our construction industry moving again.”

According to the shadow chancellor, plans to boost long-term investment and skills are the only way to rising living standards and getting people into employment.

He said: “Conference, a clear and costed plan to kick-start the economy and get people back to work is to build the homes  that we need now and for the long-term, building our way out of recession and re-building Britain for the future.”

What is your reaction to the proposal by the shadow chancellor Ed Balls to use the £4 billion from the 4G mobile phone network sale to build 100,000 affordable homes and boost the economy? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

£200m housing development reaches out for new jobs

Crest Nicholson and the Homes and Communities Agency announced today the commencement of a £200 million housing scheme which will build 1,100 homes and pave the way for new trade jobs.

The mixed-use housing scheme at Oakgrove, Melton Keynes, is set to stimulate economic growth and meet high demand for new homes in the area as well as boost employment in the construction industry.

Oakgrove will form a new community with varied sized homes in a parkland setting clustered around a new neighbourhood centre, which will include retail and restaurant facilities.

The development is designed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 and it will deliver achieve energy efficiency of a modern home. It will also include affordable housing for those unable to get onto the housing ladder.

Crest’s Executive Board Director, Chris Tinker, said: “Crest Nicholson is delighted to be commencing the delivery of this landmark and much anticipated development at such a critical time in the economic cycle.

“We would like to pay testimony to the officers and members of Milton Keynes Council who have worked hard with the Crest and HCA project team to bring this scheme forward.

“I have no doubt that through the jobs created and quality new homes it will both stimulate growth and meet pent-up housing need.”

New partnership to boost homebuilding in Manchester

 A plan to boost housebuilding in Manchester and make new homes more affordable has been agreed this week which will generate new employment opportunities in the trades.

Manchester City Council has signed an agreement with the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to bring together a completely new way of funding homebuilding in the city.

The scheme is set to build more than 240 new affordable homes and create thousands of jobs in the construction industry.

Land for the development will be provided by the city council, including one site offered by the HCA, while the Greater Manchester Pension Fund will finance the building of the homes.

The partnership will choose a contractor to build the homes whilst the city council supports the buyer, by taking an equity share in the property, making the new homes more affordable and mortgage costs lower.

Cllr Jim Battle, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester’s growing population and forecasted economic growth will mean we will continue to need more homes in the near future.

“The economic climate has severely slowed home building in recent years and levels of development are not keeping up with the city’s demand.

“This new innovative model tackles these issues, pushing forward development opportunities while ensuring a supply of new attractive homes are available to residents at affordable prices.”

Deborah McLaughlin, North West Executive Director at the HCA, said: “At the HCA our focus is to employ new and innovative ways of working to use public land assets to more quickly deliver homes and economic growth. This new concept marks a major milestone for house building in Manchester and has the potential to attract major investment to the city.”

Former factory site to be transformed into new homes

Plans to regenerate a former factory site into the building of affordable housing and a social care home have been submitted to Leeds City Council.

Home Group, one of the UK’s largest providers for social housing, is planning to build more than 50 new homes and a 64-bed care home in the Armley area of the city on Theaker Lane.

The site sits on a former tannery and soft drinks factory which hasn’t been used for a number of years and is now run down and overgrown. The building work will be carried out by Mansell and LNT Construction.

The £10 million regeneration scheme has been partially funded by the Homes and Communities Agency. It is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the building sector and boost the trades.

Home Group’s head of development, Teresa Snaith, said: “The current site is overgrown and hasn’t been used for a number of years. At a consultation event we held with local residents they have said that they are keen to see the area regenerated and put to good use.

“We hope to build 51 homes which will be available for affordable rent and our partners Ideal Care Homes will also build a 64-bed care home specialising in residential and dementia care if the planning is approved.”

Craig Houston, Regional Director for Mansell’s Yorkshire Business Unit commented “We are excited to be involved with this major regeneration scheme, hopefully one of the first of many site-led opportunities to come to fruition in the coming months.”

New Trade Jobs as Kwoks set to roll in £300m deal

A £300 million development programme, part of an ambitious £8 billion residential scheme for London, is set to start in next year following an agreement between developers.

Capital and Counties Properties (Capco) today finalised the deal with Hong Kong developers, the Kwok family, to build 800 new homes around Seagrave Road in central London.

The investment is set to bring thousands of new trade jobs for the construction industry and encourage economic growth.

Proposals include building new offices, leisure and retail space as well as a new primary school, library and open public areas. The project will include 200 affordable homes that will be offered to tenants in nearby estates.

Ian Hawksworth, Chief Executive of Capco said: “We are pleased to have completed our joint venture agreement in relation to the Seagrave Road project and look forward to starting on site in 2013 to create this exciting new residential quarter for London.”

In accordance with the conditional agreement reached in December 2011, Capco received cash consideration of approximately £67 million from the Kwok family for the 50 per cent interest in the development, which includes the Seagrave Road site and other adjacent assets.

What is your reaction to the £300 million residential scheme at Seagrave Road that will create new trade jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebookand Twitterpage.

Multi-million ‘village green’ homes plan would create new trade jobs

A multi-million planning application to build 5,750 new homes and create thousands of new trade jobs has been submitted to Ashford Borough Council.

The major development programme will take place at the 415 hectare site at Chilmington Green, building thousands of new homes arranged in three distinctive neighbourhoods with a high street, a secondary school, four primary schools, a park and extensive areas of green space.

The planning application has been prepared for the developer consortium, Hodson Developments, Jarvis Homes, Pentland Homes and Ward Home, to deal with UK’s current housing shortage.

Project manager for the consortium, Ian Bull, said that as one of the largest developments in Ashford, the housing scheme will set benchmark for new communities and increase employment opportunities in the area.

Mr Bull said: “Those well-designed places offer communities a lifestyle of wellbeing through a range of employment opportunities, cultural facilities and services, a mix of housing tenures including affordable housing, well-connected and walkable neighbourhoods, and the chance for people to connect with nature through carefully landscaped streets, parks, private gardens and allotments.”

Richard Hutchings, project director at engineering consultancy WSP, who prepared all the engineering and environmental designs and documentation to support the application, said that that developing effective transport, utilities and drainage strategies to ensure efficient delivery of the major urban extension have been the biggest challenges of the project

Mr Hutchings said: “Perhaps most significant was the development of a sustainable transport strategy that resolved existing capacity problems on the A28 corridor by reducing reliance on private vehicle travel and promoting alternative options such as walking, cycling and public transport.”

What is your reaction on the major housing scheme in Ashford that will pave the way for jobs on the building engineering industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebookand Twitterpage.

The Get Britain Building Programme Will Unlock Funding to House Builders

Housing developers facing financial difficulties will be able to bid for at least £100 million of investment to get work restarted on stalled sites under the Get Britain Building Programme, the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) has revealed.     

The Get Britain Building programme was introduced in November 2011 as part of Government’s Housing Strategy for England to boost construction activity by delivering more than 15, 000 new homes.

Following the announcement by the HCA, housebuilders with as few as 15 houses, which have been suspended, will have the chance to put their bid forward until 25 July 2012.

Development is underway on sites in Ashford, Kent and Bath whilst funding has been allocated to 40 schemes set to deliver more than 3,200 new homes once contracts are agreed.

Chief Executive at the HCA Pat Ritchie said: “It has been a tremendous effort from the industry and the HCA to get this programme up and running, and with more than £110 million allocated I look forward to seeing these developments progressing to build much needed housing.

“We will continue to be thorough in our due diligence, and will only support those schemes backed by the community, which boost the local economy and provide a secure and value for money investment for the taxpayer.” – added Ms Ritchie.

Do you think the new funding as part of the Get Britain Building programme will help your business and boost construction activity in England? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raining your voice on our Facebook page.  

The Mayor of London Will Build 100, 000 Affordable Homes


The Homes and Community Agency (HCA) published new figures today revealing that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is on track to build 100, 000 affordable homes by 2015.

More than 54, 000 homes were built in Mayor’s first term, exceeding Mayor Johnson’s pledge to provide 50, 000 affordable homes for Londoners over the four-year period of his term. In the past year 16,000 homes were built in London, which means Boris Johnson has exceeded his initial target by 4, 000 homes.

The government has given new powers to Mayor’s office in order to boost housing delivery in the capital. Mr Johnson has now pledged to build up to 100, 000 affordable homes with potential to create 100, 000 new jobs

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Four years ago I said that if we were going to improve Londoners’ lives it was going to be essential that we boost affordable housing supply in the capital. The hard work is by no means over but despite some of the most challenging economic conditions for decades we have delivered more than 54,000 affordable homes over the past four years.

“By 2015 we will have delivered over 100,000 affordable homes for London, which will give a vital boost for jobs and the wider economy, as well as providing decent places that people actually want to live in.”- added Mr Johnson.

Share your experiences about finding affordable homes in the London area? What is your reaction to the Mayor’s plan to deliver more affordable homes for Londoners? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page.

A Multi-Million Cash Boost to Bring Empty Homes Back to Life

Councils across England will receive a multi-million cash boost to bring thousands of empty homes back into use, creating further employment for trade professionals and boosting the housing market.

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced yesterday a further £60 million investment to tackle clusters of empty homes in England. Additional £25 million will be allocated to voluntary and community groups across the country to tackle individual empty properties in their area.

Mr Stunell said: “The number of empty homes in this country is a national disgrace – for every two families that need a home there is one standing empty. Empty homes bring down a neighbourhood and attract vandals and fly-tipping, as well as being a waste of much needed housing.”

Although, the number of empty homes has fallen to the lowest level since 2004, the Liberal Democrat Minister believes that there is still a lot to be done to bring more empty houses back into use.

He said: “I’m delighted to announce this funding boost today that will allow councils and community groups to bring these houses back to life and offer families a chance of a stable and secure home.

“We need to do much more to tackle this problem. This Government is breathing life back into these neglected neighbourhoods.”

Previous announcements have seen £70 million allocated to bring empty homes back into use as part of the affordable housing programme. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, this announcement brings a total investment of £215 million to renovate thousands of properties and bring them back into use.

Do you think the Government could do more to bring empty houses back into life? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment here or raising your voice on our Facebook page