HOT on the heels of the Government’s offer of £497 million to build new homes, a North West housing organisation has said it will invest £750 million in its Merseyside heartlands.
Torus, which became the region’s largest stock-holding organisation when it completed a merger with LMH earlier this year, confirmed its investment plans after it was appointed as one of Homes England’s latest wave of strategic partners this week.
The organisation has been awarded £66 million of funding through the strategic partnership programme.
The money is expected to stimulate further investment by the housing provider as sets out to accelerate the delivery of 5,300 newbuild homes over the next five years. These will be a mix of “affordable” homes for rent and future home ownership, Torus said.
“The Homes England Strategic Partnership will have a massive impact on our new build plans for the next five years,” said Torus group chief executive, Steve Coffey. “The partnership funding will see our development programme grow by 29%, which will mean wider housing options and additional new homes built across the North West, especially in our heartland areas of Liverpool, St Helens and Warrington.”
This latest wave of strategic partner funding was announced by communities secretary James Brokenshire MP at the London First Building Summit earlier this week.
All told, the £497 million is expected to fund the delivery of over 11,000 new “affordable” properties across the country.
The purpose of the partnerships is to give housing associations “greater flexibility” and boost delivery, by ensuring money can be allocated where it is need across multiple projects – rather than a case by case basis, the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government explained.
“By providing targeted investment in affordable homes, and funding innovative projects to build rooftop properties [in London], we are making our housing market work for everyone,” said Brokenshire.
“Our £500 million funding boost for housing associations will help them build thousands of extra affordable homes – including properties for social rent.
“These measures are all part of our plans to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”
Sir Edward Lister, chair of Homes England, added: “I welcome the new strategic partners who share our ambition to build better homes faster.
“Our new ways of working with the sector means that housing associations can use their funding flexibly across their development programmes and respond quickly to local housing demand and a changing market.”
The latest wave of strategic partners include housing organisations across the country, but in the North of England, along with Torus, they include: Together Housing Group, Yorkshire Housing, and Your Housing Group.
Yorkshire Housing secured funding to provide a further 1,300 new homes for shared ownership, “affordable” rent, and new social rent properties.
“We are delighted to have received the support of Homes England for the next round of strategic partnerships and we are looking forward to getting started on this new initiative,” said Andy Gamble, Yorkshire Housing’s director of development.
“The extra funding will help us deliver an additional 1,300 homes beyond our existing strategic priority to complete 3,120 homes before March 2021. The sector faces a desperate need for new social homes and partnerships like this will help us deliver and keep our customers at the forefront of what we do.”
Will Lifford, Yorkshire Housing’s chair, added: “The announcement today builds on our ambitious growth strategy to build more new homes in the Yorkshire region. This deal will enable us to continue to play a major part in addressing the housing crisis and provide genuinely affordable homes in Yorkshire.”
Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “We are delighted to welcome this latest wave of strategic partnerships between housing associations and Homes England. They are a strong example of collaboration and represent an innovative approach to building new affordable homes. Most importantly, they will help ambitious housing associations to build more of the homes the country desperately needs.”