As 2015 kicks off, the housing shortage shows no signs of abating. Thankfully, the Government, as well as local councils, are taking action to create more affordable homes than ever before. Here are some of the schemes underway, as well as a look at projects due to commence or be completed in 2015.
The Affordable Homes Programme 2015 to 2018
The Affordable Homes Programme 2011-2015 saw 170,000 affordable homes built. The success of this scheme has seen the Minister for Housing, Kris Hopkins MP, announce that a further 165,000 affordable homes will be built from April 2015 to March 2018.
Focusing on the supply shortage, the majority of these will be one or two bedroom properties, with locations scrutinised carefully. Local authorities have been charged with providing the land.
The Aim of the Affordable Homes Programme
£2.9 billion in capital grant funding was made available across the UK for the 2015-2018 programme duration, with the remainder to be submitted by local authorities.
As well as creating affordable homes for those who need them most, the programme focuses strongly on the needs of the elderly and vulnerable.
The programme also seeks to help small to medium sized builders. Continuous Market Engagement (CME) will be applied for the programme’s duration, with £800,000 of funding remaining to fulfil needs as they arise.
North Prospect Housing Project: Phase 2 Due for Completion in 2015
When Plymouth Community Homes surveyed more than 400 homes in North Prospect, it concluded that 90% of them had serious structural problems. £168 million was subsequently allocated with plans to demolish 800 existing homes, and to build more than 1,100 new ones.
A community hub including a nursery, retail units, and office space is underway. Phase two of this project will see 344 energy-efficient homes, including 172 affordable homes, completed by the end of 2015.
South Kilburn Regeneration Programme: More Phases Due for Completion in 2015
This ambitious project seeks to rejuvenate the South Kilburn community. As part of the £600m regeneration, 2,400 homes, including 1,500 for existing estate residents will be available by 2023. This master plan also includes a new local primary school, urban park, and health facilities.
Brent Council has undertaken this project in phases, with 153 homes now available. A further 101 homes in Cambridge and Wells Court, and Cambridge Avenue are due to be completed in early 2015. The redevelopment of Bronte House, Gloucester House, Fielding House, and Durham Court will continue throughout 2015, offering a further 465 homes in 2016.
West Lothian’s Goal of 1000 Council Homes Gets a Step Closer
It’s an ambitious goal, but the West Lothian Council is set to be 162 council homes closer to their ultimate goal of 1,000. The construction of bungalows, cottages, and double-storey homes will commence in spring 2015, and will be completed in 2017.
The contract was awarded to Lovell, who was also awarded a contract, earlier this year, to build 436 new homes for the council. Existing and new homes are all classed as affordable.
Manchester to Build Nearly 600 Affordable Homes
A combination of £35.5m from Manchester Housing Associations and £11.5m from the Affordable Homes Programme will see 439 affordable homes for rent and 159 for affordable owner occupation arise across the city from 2015.
The Manchester City Council has allocated spare and unused sites for the project, and plans on feeding the work to a number of developers.
Does More Need To Be Done?
While 165,000 affordable homes is an excellent start, Shelter suggests England alone requires an annual minimum of 250,000 affordable homes to meet the current housing shortage and curb the associated economic impact. To achieve this, Shelter suggests diversifying the home building sector to better absorb market shocks, and the establishment of new Garden Cities.
They also suggest further investment from a mix of traditional government agencies combined with innovations such as joint ventures with local government and private investors. After 20 years of the slowest homebuilding rates since the 1920s, the more homebuilding projects that get underway, the better for everyone.
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