Much-needed new homes, jobs and training opportunities are being created in Telford as part of an ambitious £11 million project by Sanctuary Group.
The housing and care provider is developing 86 extra care apartments for over 55s as well as 12 apartments specially designed for people with learning difficulties, in the suburb of Ketley.
A 500-strong workforce has begun work on the Ketley Park Road site as part of a £60 million partnership with contractor Seddon to build more than 700 new homes in the Midlands.
Local suppliers will be used wherever possible on the development and there will be grants available for local community projects.
Andrew White, Sanctuary’s Development Director, said: “This is an ambitious project which will create much needed homes for older people in this part of Ketley. Sanctuary is dedicated to creating new jobs and apprentice posts at all our developments and this site is no different.”
Councillor Hilda Rhodes, Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Customer Services, marked the start of work on site during a special sod cutting ceremony.
She said: “This is an excellent scheme which very much reflects the council’s drive to support businesses and I was delighted to kick start the work on the site. I look forward to seeing the projects develop in the months to come.”
Ian Calder from Seddon said: “We’re delighted to be creating apprentice training opportunities through this important housing scheme. Boosting local economies by providing new jobs and training is a central feature of our work with Sanctuary.”
The number of new homes started by private sector builders in the year to June 2012 was the highest recorded since the banking crisis started in 2008 according to official statistics.
Over that period, 10,827 new homes were started, a 24 per cent increase on the previous year. This increase follows three years of recorded annual decreases in private sector new build starts.
The statistics reflect new starts by house builders building for private sale, alongside other house building activity by construction companies throughout Scotland such as for RSL shared equity developments and self-build.
There was also a continued increase in the number of council houses across Scotland, with local authorities completing 1,206 new homes in the year to September 2012, the highest number since 1990.
Across all sectors 14,032 houses were started to June 2012, up by 4% compared to the same period last year.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Scotland’s construction sector has faced the full force of the economic downturn.
“Times are still very tough, with high deposit requirements and reduced mortgage availability continuing to prove a barrier to recovery in the housing market.
“However, I welcome these latest statistics and hope this increased activity can spark an economic revival for the industry. Every house started supports jobs for bricklayers, joiners, plumbers and the wider supply chain.
“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to support the industry and boost supply. We plan to deliver at least 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of the Parliament, backed by investment of at least £760 million in the next three years.
“We have allocated almost £115 million to local authorities across Scotland, which is helping deliver over 4,400 council homes.
“And we are stimulating growth through the innovative National Housing Trust initiative and our shared equity schemes.
“We have also offered a guarantee to support up to 6,000 new build house purchases through a housing industry-led Mortgage Indemnity Scheme, to help address the banks’ requirements for high deposits.”
Stevenage Borough Council has signed a £26 million housing redevelopment scheme to modernise and improve thousands of council houses in the town by the end of 2015. Building work will begin in June this year, creating new jobs and boosting the local economy.
Appointed contractors, Keepmoat and Wates, have pledged to employ local tradespeople and provide training opportunities for those who want to take part in the project.
The Council has invested a total of £33 million on home improvements. This will make homes more modern and energy efficient. As a result of the scheme, more than 2,200 bathrooms and 3,400 kitchens will be fitted by the end of the investment programme.
Major heating and electrical work will also take place. Some 2,620 heating and 1,918 electrical systems will be updated, creating more employment opportunities for those in the heating and plumbing industry.
Stevenage Borough Council has agreed with both contractors, that as part of the scheme they will invest in similar projects that will benefit the local community.
The Council has also achieved a cash saving of nearly 10%, compared to previous contracts. The money saved will be reinvested in improving more properties to a higher standard than the national average.
Portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Ann Webb, shared a great deal of optimism about the project which will bring real benefits to the whole area by creating new jobs and helping the local community.
Chief Executive of Keepmoat, Ian Sutcliffe, said: “We are delighted to be given an opportunity to work in Stevenage. We have a strong reputation of delivering on our promises to customers. Whilst working in tenants homes we will maintain our excellent customer focus to make sure that they are satisfied with our work.”
Business Director of Wates, Cliff Parsons, said: “We look forward to meeting the local residents and working together to make a beneficial difference to the local community including employment opportunities and training.”
What is your reaction to the £33 million housing scheme in Stevenage? Do you welcome the improvements that will be made to thousands of council homes? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:
A £118 million private finance iniative in Brunswick has received government backing and will see 600 council homes modernised and a further 200 homes built. New roads, shops and a local housing office will be built under the new plans.
Manchester Council’s Executive Member for Housing, Cllr Paul Andews says these plans will transform the local area. In a statement he said, “It’s excellent news that this regeneration scheme can go ahead. This will transform the area and vastly improve the quality of life of the people who live in Brunswick.”
Other housing initiatives have also received planning permission, such as plans to improve the Pendleton area of Salford, which will see 600 new homes and 1200 council properties built at a cost of £100 million.
The Gateway to Oldham scheme, which will see 430 new homes built and 324 council homes renovated, is also going ahead. The three schemes will create hundreds of construction jobs in Manchester and those looking for plumbing, electrical and gas work will be in luck, as thousands of new homes will be built.
But the Collyhurst PFI project, which aimed to inject £252 million worth of investment into one of Manchester’s most deprived areas, is not so lucky and will not go ahead, due to a lack of funding.
What do you think about the new housing schemes in Manchester?