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Affordable green homes in the Scottish Borders could soon be a reality

Warmer, cheaper, more affordable homes is something we all want, and this could be a reality as Eildon Housing look at future house building and its impact on the environment.

They are investing millions of pounds as part of their strategy to make sure everyone has access to somewhere they can call home.

The need for affordable housing in the Borders has hit an all-time high, with recent figures showing, on average, 17 people bidding for every home that becomes available.

To meet this need it is important to be able to build a house quicker and make it cheaper to heat and therefore eradicate fuel poverty especially in rural parts of the Borders reducing our use of fossil fuels.

An exciting building project will start construction in the New Year that they hope will tick all those boxes as they look to test different construction methods across four new sites.

Working in partnership with Scottish Borders Council, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Glasgow School of Art (MEARU) the new developments will be part of a study to compare construction costs, time to build, living quality, and whether the homes are financially viable to build.

The developments at Westruther, Broughton, Denholm and Innerleithen will see up to 50 new green homes built and will test different building methods from Passivhaus, Energiesprong, Volumetric and the traditional build we’re all used to.

Potential new tenants will be heavily involved in the study for a period of time when they move in, as the results will be used to determine not only the future building programme for Eildon, but also lead the way for how Scottish homes are built and lived in, in the future.

By DAWN RENTON

Source: Scotsman

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New affordable homes to be built on site of former Wigan scrap yard

Jigsaw Homes Group has had a planning application approved to build 49 high-quality affordable homes on the site of a former scrap yard on Pocket Nook Lane in Lowton.

The new development will comprise a mix of one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses, providing a much needed range of quality affordable accommodation for Lowton.

Jigsaw has committed to carrying out decontamination of the site as part of the development process, turning a derelict and contaminated piece of land into a place fit for habitation.

Funding has been secured from Homes England through its Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme (SOAHP) 2016-21.

Garnet Fazackerley, Jigsaw Group’s operations director for development said: “We are delighted to receive planning permission to develop 49 affordable new homes on a former industrial brownfield site.

“Jigsaw Group is committed to tackling the housing crisis by building new homes for the people in our communities.

“We have plans to develop over 2,000 new homes by 2022 and developments like this one bring us one step closer to that goal.”

Work is due to begin this Autumn, with completion likely to be in 2021.

The new homes will be let and managed by Adactus Housing Association, part of the Jigsaw Group.

By Neil Hodgson

Source: The Business Desk

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The government fails to meet housing target

A select committee has warned that the government has failed to meet its target for releasing land for new homes by  “a wide margin”.

Under its Public Land for Housing Programme, the government aims to “increase housing supply by releasing surplus public sector land for at least 160,000 homes” in England between 2015 and 2020.

The Public Accounts Committee however argued in their latest report that by the end of the programme, the government will have failed to sell the land needed for 91,000 of the homes promised.

This is equivalent to 57% of the overall target.

Meg Hillier MP, the chair of the committee, said: “The nation’s housing crisis has been prolonged by the government’s failure to develop a strategy for public land disposal. We are frustrated that this unique opportunity has been wasted.

“The UK needs more houses. As a major land holder, the government is in a unique position to release land for new homes; and yet the objectives of its land disposal programmes are chaotic and confused.

“We are baffled that the programmes were not designed with a view to how many homes were needed of what type, and where – nor how the proceeds will be used.

“Land disposal targets were set without a rigorous evidence base of what could actually be delivered. It is no real surprise, then, that the government will now fail to meet its target to sell enough land by 2020 for 160,000 homes.

“But with a gap of 91,000 fewer potential homes than anticipated, we are extremely concerned that the nation’s housing shortage will only get worse.

“Building affordable homes should be a key part of the objectives of the government’s land disposal strategy. However, we are concerned at the Department’s disregard for how the release of public land could be used to deliver affordable homes, particularly social homes for rent.

“We call on the government to set out a decisive course of action for how it will execute its land disposal strategy so that it translates into actual homes for the people that need them most.”

The select committee said this target was ‘clearly unrealistic’ from the outset and lacked a sufficient and rigorous evidence base when it was originally set.

The Cabinet office is expected to achieve its proceeds target of delivering “£5bn of receipts between 2015 and 2020 through the release of surplus public sector land and property across the UK.

This is despite almost all departments being on course to miss their individual targets.

However, this is because of one large unplanned sale that contributed almost £1.5bn of the £5bn target.

The committee said it is unacceptable for the outcomes of these crucial programmes to be reliant upon luck instead of judgement.

It said that despite just 40,500 homes having been built since 2011, the loose definition from the ministry of housing, communities and local government (MHCLG) of what constitutes a new home has artificially inflated the number of new homes that have been created.

A spokesperson from MHCLG added: “We have an urgent mission to build more homes for the next generation so they can realise the dream of home ownership.

“Last year saw us deliver 222,000 new homes, more than in all but one of the last 31 years.

“Government departments have identified enough surplus public sector land for 160,000 new homes and our development accelerator Homes England is providing expert assistance to get these built more quickly.”

By Michael Lloyd

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Aberdeen pushes ahead with largest council house programme in 50 years

The biggest council housebuilding programme in Aberdeen in more than half a century has taken another major step forward as plans progressed for 283 new homes.

First Endeavour LLP is set to deliver the housing units at Wellheads Road in Dyce after entering an agreement with Aberdeen City Council.

The site was marketed at a Developers’ Day held by the council last year to encourage the private sector to come forward with housing provision.

Council co-leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “We are delighted to announce that we are partnering with First Endeavour LLP to provide nearly 300 council homes.

“As a council, we are committed to finding innovative ways to deliver both services and new infrastructure, including an additional 2,000 council homes.

“We are working with landowners and developers to provide much-needed local authority housing.”

Fellow council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “Our new-build programme is gathering momentum with a number of projects under way or about to start.

“This isn’t just about building housing – it’s about building communities and opportunities and ensuring that our city continues to prosper in an inclusive way.”

A First Endeavour LLP spokesperson said: “First Endeavour are delighted to be working with Aberdeen City Council to be building much-needed council homes in Dyce.

“These homes will be built to the highest standards to meet the needs of council tenants, including those with a disability.”

Last year 99 council homes were built at Smithfield, 80 are nearing completion at Manor Walk, 369 are earmarked for the former Summerhill Academy site, and there are plans for more new homes at Tillydrone, Kincorth, Craighill and Greenferns.

Project and programme consultancy Faithful+Gould has been appointed to help hit the target of 2,000 additional council homes across the city.

Stewart Ferguson, regional director of SNC Lavalin’s Faithful+Gould business, said: “Building upon our long-term relationship with Aberdeen City Council, we are delighted to be leading one of the most high-profile and ambitious housing programmes in a generation.

“The council’s innovative approach is based upon the ‘Building in Quality’ methodology and will positively contribute to Aberdeen’s social housing offer and the city’s prosperity.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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Homes England delivers four year high of housing completions

From 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 there were more houses being built and completed, including affordable homes, Homes England’s housing statistics have shown.

There were 45,692 housing starts, the highest level for nine years, and 40,289 housing completions delivered through Homes England programmes, excluding London, the highest for four years.

Some 30,563 or 67% of housing starts on site in 2018-19 were for affordable homes, up 10% year-on-year and the highest for five years.

Mark Dyason, managing director of the development finance specialist, Thistle Finance, said: “Based on this evidence, homes in England are finally starting to be built in earnest.

“For housing start levels to be the highest in nine years, despite the ever-present uncertainty of Brexit, shows there’s hope for the property market yet.

“So extreme is the supply deficit that developers are proceeding with projects as they feel hedged against the political headwinds. Crucially, homes are not just being built in greater numbers but are selling in greater numbers, with the increase in affordable housing especially welcome.

“Help to Buy is attracting growing criticism at present but it has without doubt had an impact on purchase levels in recent years. It helps that for experienced and financially strong developers there are opportunities aplenty and no shortage of finance options.

“While there is political stasis, the development finance market remains fluid and this is showing through in these strong numbers.”

Some 17,772 affordable homes started in 2018-19 were for affordable rent, an increase of 4% on the 17,159 started in 2017-18. A further 11,560 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, 24% more year-on-year.

The remaining 1,231 were for social rent, a decrease of 12% on the 1,406 started in 2017-18.

Of the affordable homes started in 2018-19, the highest delivering programmes were: Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP) with 89%, up from 71% in 2017-18, and the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) with 4.6%, down from 21% in 2017-18.

Some 28,710 (71%) of housing completions in 2018-19 were for affordable homes, 11% more year-on-year and the highest for four years.

In addition, 18,895 affordable homes completed in 2018-19 were for affordable rent, 4% fewer than the year before. A further 8,854 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, an increase of 75% on the 5,069 completed in 2017-18.

The remaining 961 were for Social Rent, a 1% reduction on the 970 completed in 2017-18. Of the affordable homes completed in 2018-19, the highest delivering programmes were the SOAHP 2016-21 with 55% and the AHP 2015-18 with 39%.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, added: “Homes England are taking on the housing crisis with a sustained dose of horsepower.

“The nine-year high in its house building rate sends a clear signal that it has built up a head of steam, which is helping to propel the market and housing supply forward.

“Good progress in the past four years, with starts rising year-on-year, takes its building levels almost back to the high seen just after the financial crisis although there is still a long way to go to satisfy the existing deficit.

“All eyes are on this rebound, in the hope it marks the start of a concerted push to new levels of affordable home building in England, coinciding as it does with a renewed political focus on the housing crisis in recent years.

“Although the government’s overall pace of building remains roughly 10,000 homes off target, Homes England could make considerable inroads here and close this gap significantly over the next few years.”

By Michael Lloyd 

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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New homes set for Nottingham city centre

Twenty new homes are being built in The Meadows area of Nottingham which will go to local families on Nottingham’s council house waiting list.

On behalf of Nottingham City Council – Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and contractor Woodhead Group will develop the homes on the site of the former Clifton Miners Welfare on Ainsworth Drive.

The two-bed houses are expected to be completed in spring 2020.

After planning permission was approved last year, these new homes are the latest for the Meadows area which form part of the city’s Building a Better Nottingham programme and follow the completion of 55 homes in June 2018.

Nick Murphy, chief executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “There has been significant regeneration in the Meadows and we have invested in creating new homes there over the last few years. We are now creating a further 20 good quality new council homes – homes that people can be proud of and that they want to live in.

“Not only is it a busy year for us in terms of developments, we are also celebrating 100 years of council housing, when councils were first given the task of developing where it was needed. A hundred years later this is still our vision; we want to build warm and secure family homes that the people of Nottingham can afford to live in and these new properties will be no exception”.

Cllr Linda Woodings, portfolio holder for planning and housing at Nottingham City Council, said: “Working together with Nottingham City Homes and other partners, we are transforming Nottingham’s neighbourhoods, by regenerating sites which are no longer fit for purpose and replacing them with new, warm, safe and quality homes.

“Together we’re giving sites like the one in the Meadows a new purpose whilst creating opportunities for jobs and training and providing much needed housing which Nottingham people can afford to buy or rent in communities where people want to live and work”.

Leo Woodhead, director at Woodhead Group said: “Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council share our commitment to deliver social value while building quality new homes. Having delivered the first ever CCS housing UltraSite together, we learned a lot and are really looking forward to working closely with the community and our supply chain partners to create a better experience for all.”

By Sam Metcalf

Source: The Business Desk

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This is where 6,800 homes could be built in Tunbridge Wells borough

Tunbridge Wells town would be better protected from large scale new house building if the council proposal goes ahead to put 6,800 homes at Tudeley and Paddock Wood.

The controversial proposal for the tiny village in the heart of the countryside and the small town were officially unveiled this week to parish councils.

Residents were getting to grips with the shock of the proposition put forward by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. which is grappling with a housing target more than doubled by the Government, to reach 13,500 new homes in the 20 years up to 2036. This is around 680 each year.

But while two areas could be changed forever during a timescale council leader Alan McDermott put at “probably 25 years” – Tunbridge Wells, which for years has seen controversial infilling, office conversions to residential, sizeable brownfield developments and new estates built or under way, might get something of a breather.

The proposals are in the draft Local Plan which will go out for public consultation in the early autumn.

Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough.

“Similarly, this option does not add such intense pressure to the existing infrastructure as much as other options would – for example, if the vast majority of the development were to be around the main urban area, Tunbridge Wells and Southborough.”

Mr McDermott said new infrastructure, potentially including schools, drainage, utility links, a road off the A228, doctors’ surgeries and employment development, would be built as part of the Tudeley and Paddock Wood proposal.

Talking of the council’s track record in Tunbridge Wells as the planning authority, Mr Baughen said: “We always look to prioritise previously developed land and the redevelopment of previously developed land but as you are seeing, a lot of the sites which have been identified as suitable for redevelopment sites in the previous Local Plan and the Site Allocation Local Plan now have planning permission or indeed are being built out.”

 Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district
‘Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?’ asked resident Petrina Lambert (Image: Lewis Durham)

He added: “This is a finite resource but this Local Plan looks again to make sure that suitable sites within the urban areas are being identified and allocated but a number of them have permission already.”

Petrina Lambert, who lives in Brampton Bank, Tudeley, said: “Our first reactions were shock, distress, upset then extremely angry.

“The whole idea made us feel sick. We moved here to live in a rural community that was now going to be destroyed.

“Why so many homes? 4,000 in Paddock Wood and 2,800 here in Tudeley. Tunbridge Wells borough has to build 13,000 new homes but why 6,800 in a four square mile radius? What about the rest of the district?

“There is also the development at Woodgate Way in Tonbridge only two miles away and no infrastructure in place to support this and a new development with a sudden and large increase in this area’s population.

“It is the destruction of a small and happy community and that of an area of outstanding natural beauty that upsets us most and there are not the right words to describe the loss.”

 Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough.
Head of planning Steve Baughen said: “These strategies reduced the impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty compared to some of the other potential options, for example a more dispersed pattern of development across the borough. (Image: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Local Plan will go out to public consultation

The original housing target of 6,000 new homes for Tunbridge Wells was more than doubled by the Government to 13,500 during the past few years.

The Local Plan, an evergreen and constantly updating document, is in its 2016 to 2036 planning period.

In order to work out how many homes need to be built in the future, the council must take account of the housing which has already been built or permitted since 2016.

This leaves 9,000 homes – and the council is putting forward Tudeley, which is little more than a large cluster of homes, and Paddock Wood, which had a 8,253 population in 2011, for around 6,800 of them.

The explosive proposal was unveiled officially to parish councils on Monday and Tuesday nights, although the borough council said it had been working with the parishes behind the scenes.

The council said by building homes on such a large scale rather than ad hoc, proper planning could go into infrastructure.

The Local Plan will go out to consultation in September/October and again a final consultation on the final Local Plan next September before submission to the Planning Inspectorate in December 2020. It will be examined formally in the spring or summer of 2021.

By Mary Harris

Source: Kent Live

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New housing and more schools feature in ‘vision for the future’ for East Renfrewshire

A VISION of how East Renfrewshire will develop over the next 10 years has been set out by council chiefs.

Councillors will consider a draft strategy outlining the local authority’s long-term ambitions at a meeting today.

The revised ‘Vision for the Future,’ originally launched in 2015, reveals how the council will address five key outcomes.

These are early years and vulnerable young people; learning, life and work; environment and economy; safe, supportive communities; and older people and people with long-term conditions.

A report to councillors states: “East Renfrewshire is a modern, ambitious council, creating a fairer future with all. Our mission is simple: to make lives better for the growing numbers of residents who choose to live here.

“East Renfrewshire, however, faces many of the same challenges as the rest of Scotland over the next 10 years.”

These challenges include population growth, changes in the world economy, climate change and rapid developments in technology.

“The financial landscape for the public sector has become increasingly challenging, with councils having to find significant year-on-year savings while continuing to deliver services that meet the growing and more complex needs of local people,” the report adds.

In East Renfrewshire, this has meant making savings of over £54million since 2011, with a further £22m to be made by 2021.

Over the next decade, the council plans to significantly expand nursery provision, increase support for young people with additional support needs and ensure fewer children and families are in the care system.

The draft strategy states that increasing demand for places in schools will see a growth in the number of classrooms.

The council also wants East Renfrewshire to be a key tourist destination, with better rail and bus services and improvements to park and open spaces.

In addition, it plans to build at least 4,350 houses by 2029.

Vision for the Future also commits to continuing work to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as encouraging electric cars and ensuring any new-build housing is as energy efficient as possible.

And, for older people, there will be a shift away from hospital wards to community alternatives for those who require long-term or round-the-clock care.

Source: Barrhead News

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UK construction buoyed by house-building: surveys

UK construction industry is being shielded from the uncertainty about Brexit by modest growth in house-building, industry surveys showed on Thursday.

Builders registered 37,672 new homes for warranties and insurance from the National House-Building Council (NHBC) between January and March, up 3 percent compared with a year earlier.

NHBC’s figures, which cover 80 percent of the new homes market, are viewed as a lead indicator for the housing sector.

Separately, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said private house-building supported the otherwise subdued construction industry, with overall confidence at an almost six-year low.

While the commercial construction sector has been hurt by falling business investment ahead of Brexit, efforts to narrow a shortfall in the number of residential homes on the market has helped the house-building sector.

Construction represents about 6 percent of British economic output.

“We are pleased to report good numbers for the start of the year, although we do need to bear in mind the situation 12 months ago when freezing conditions caused major hold-ups in registrations as well as build-rates across the bulk of the UK,” NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said.

Uncertainty around Brexit had caused “some dampening” of the housing market for new homes in early 2019, he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May has failed to get her European Union divorce deal through parliament, forcing her to delay the original Brexit date of March 29. A new deadline has been set for Oct. 31, more than three years since the 2016 referendum.

House-building was the only source of growth for Britain’s construction industry during the first three months of 2019, according to the most recent purchasing managers index from IHS Markit/CIPS. The survey for April is due at 0830 GMT.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg

Source: UK Reuters

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Plans for council homes at former Dumbarton school approved

Plans to build 55 affordable new council homes on the site of the former primary school site in Dumbarton have been approved by councillors.

The 1.9-acre area has been empty since the former Aitkenbar Primary School was demolished in 2016, following its relocation to a purpose built shared campus nearby.

The new development will see the site transformed into mixed housing including 24 one-bedroom flats, two-, three- and four-bedroom semi-detached houses, two three-bedroom accessible bungalows and four-bedroom detached homes.

A tree-lined road will be formed through the centre of the site, from Howatshaws Road, and a new footpath will connect the site with the adjacent children’s play area and woodland path.

At a meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council’s planning committee yesterday, councillors were also told how new tenants in the homes would benefit from a community garden, which will have shrubs, a seating area, and community art designed in partnership with local schools and an artist.

Councillor Diane Docherty, vice chair of the planning committee, and convener of housing and communities, said: “I was really impressed with the plans for the new use of this site. It has been well thought out to ensure that this new development can fit in with the existing community and I’m sure it will bring a great deal of benefit to the surrounding area.

“The facilities on offer, including the Community Garden and its close proximity to schooling, is bound to make this site very popular when complete.

“We are committed to providing affordable and efficient new homes for our residents, and it is exciting to see how this development will take shape.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now