One of the biggest housing associations in the United Kingdom has announced their plans to build 186 affordable homes which will be specifically designed to appeal to older residents. Within the next two weeks, Orbit Homes will submit their formal planning application to Warwick District Council to build the £26 million independent living complex in Leamington.
Both Orbit Homes and their partner in the scheme (Coventry-based Deeley Group) believe the site is perfectly located for this type of development. The project is on the site of a former factory and has been empty for over a decade. Local residents have been invited to a meeting to get a preview of the housing development aimed at the over 55s. The new complex will also include a restaurant, hairdressing salon, IT suite and café which will all be available for use by the whole community.
Lorraine Mansfield, Orbit’s business development manager, said “Our Independent Living with Care schemes are designed to help local people remain independent in their own home, providing a place where they can enjoy a real community spirit with like-minded people. We believe this will be a valuable addition to the area. Similar schemes have proved to be widely popular in other parts of the region.”
For the past year the Deeley Group and Orbit’s Heart of England division have been having “constructive” dealings with the district council and local landlords who will be buying fifty of the new homes on the understanding that they must be rented out to older tenants and be protected with landlord insurance. Any private landlords who add one of the new properties to their portfolio must sign a contract with the council that states if they do not stick to the contract, the council can buy the property back. Members of the council’s review board all appear to broadly welcome the proposals and if they give the green light for the development, work will be started by the end of the year. When the work is completed the development will employ around fifty people and everyone involved feels confident it will be a significant addition to the neighbourhood, not just for much needed jobs but also for local housing.
More affordable houses are coming to the West Midlands town of Dudley as approval for the first new council homes in two decades was given after Dudley Council was awarded £4million from the Coalition Government’s Home and Communities Agency (HCA).
Developers will build eighty new homes throughout the borough and the HCA are delighted to be supporting the local council with the investment to deliver new homes. The much needed homes will be of a high quality and cater for a range of different housing needs including supporting people with learning disabilities. The major projects for these new build council homes look set for completion towards the end of 2013 but some are expected to be finished in spring next year.
Dudley Councillor for housing, Adrian Turner said: “We are aiming to try and bring in as much affordable housing to the area as there has ever been for almost 100 years. We are continually developing sites, and so we will be eventually looking to replace every house. We are also looking to improve the state of homes for the elderly by installing more energy efficient systems that will help to keep temperatures warmer through winter months and keep fuel costs down. We are also working with private companies and investors to keep these improvements at a low cost, so people will not have to pay as much as they would have done, if we had gone commercially.”
Affordable housing is a problem for anyone looking to buy or rent a home, and the council hopes the scheme will dramatically reduce the housing waiting list in the Borough. The spending cuts imposed by Central Government on local authorities means that homes typically covered with landlord insurance by buy-to-let investors will have to take up some of the slack. However, the council has big plans for the regeneration of the borough. It seems Dudley’s efforts will be a welcome solution to the UK’s housing shortages, and should set the standard for other areas to follow.
Plans have been revealed for 290 much needed new homes in Kirkbymoorside. The developer plans to build 240 houses which would include a number of affordable homes and another 50 apartments for elderly people with care needs.
The proposed scheme from Gladman Developments of Cheshire will be studied by local councillors, planners and residents who will discuss the effect it would have on the town. The developer will be posting out questionnaire leaflets throughout the town publicising the exhibition about the scheme taking place at Kirkbymoorside Primary School. The developers will also be giving a private presentation to the entire council.
A spokesman for the developers said: “The questionnaire is an opportunity for the public to tell us what is important to them and, if built, what they would want to see in the development. We want to get feedback from residents about the demand for first homes, affordable homes and community facilities. Kirkbymoorside has been assessed by Ryedale District Council as one of the towns where further residential development should be suitably accommodated. We are consulting with a number of organisations and groups including community organisations, Ryedale District Council, schools, doctors, the Highways Authority and affordable housing providers.”
The council currently has a need for 256 new affordable homes per year and Gladman confirmed the development would provide up to 80 such homes which the council could use to reduce the council house waiting list. In addition it is anticipated that private landlords will be asking for property insurance quotes on a number of the buildings which will also mean those looking for accommodation will get the chance to take up a tenancy in the private sector. The development will contain ample open space and recreational facilities and the proposed site will be easily accessible to existing amenities and the public transport network. Mayor Chris Dowey is delighted with the proposals which mean local people will be able to stay in the town rather than having to move away to find a home. Even though it is still early days, it is obvious that the scheme is going to have a huge impact on the town.
The Lake District National Park Authority say that Greenfield sites in Keswick need houses built on them in order to meet the increasing demand for homes in the area. However, the proposals have attracted opposition from residents who have sent the council two petitions with thousands of signatures.
The local council say there is a need for one-hundred new affordable homes in Keswick, and that the suggested sites will be suitable for 157. Research was carried out and a list of suitable locations was made. The KBAG (Keswick Boundaries Action Group) has been set up to fight the proposals that they feel will spoil their beautiful town. Planning consultants have suggested other areas that should be considered, which the national park authority have for some reason ruled out.
Councillor Ian Hall said: “While campaigners have put forward suggestions for fulfilling the current housing need on Brownfield sites, those will very quickly run out and Greenfield areas will still have to be built on. We need more affordable housing if we are going to retain a local population. Something else that would help is to limit the number of second homes and holiday lets as this is not helping the problem.”
The council have also suggested that if everyone in the area agreed to pay £1 per month on their council tax, the town would be able to buy back housing at a rate of fifteen each year, which although a low number, it will help to reduce the problem. Consultation on the merits of each individual site will begin later this week and local landlords have already intimated that they would be more than willing to increase their landlord insurance cover to take in new properties that they would let to local people on whatever site is eventually chosen.