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Hundreds of millions invested in South West


Over £235m has been invested in affordable housing in the South West over the past 12 months with a further £22m invested in projects to regenerate and return unused and derelict land to public use.

In a statement outlining successes of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Colin Molton, Regional Director of the HCA in the South West said: “The work of the Agency has been very clearly focussed on working with our partners to keep the housing industry moving. We have done this by ensuring affordable housing is built; committing to infrastructure work to help unlock stalled sites; and returning otherwise derelict land to public use.”

Affordable Housing in the South West

“During 2008/09 around 4,200 affordable new homes for rent or low cost home ownership were started on site and a further 6,000 affordable new homes again for rent or low cost home ownership, were completed. This equates to well over 10,000 people being successfully housed in the South West.”

In Dorset and Wiltshire, the Homes and Communities Agency spent over £16m in the past year and most recently allocated a further £36m for for 450 affordable homes over the next few years. In other counties such as Somerset the HCA spent around £17m while high need areas such as Bristol, Plymouth and Gloucestershire benefitted from the HCA expenditure on affordable homes with £30m, £13m and £20m respectively.

“We are looking to invest further in affordable housing in the South West during 2009/10 and expect to be able to provide affordable homes for at least another 10,000-15,000 people.

The construction and completion by the HCA of a new bridge over the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal in Gloucester was duly opened by children of the city and named High Orchard Bridge. The bridge is a major step forward in the continued regeneration of Gloucester and will bring wide-ranging economic benefits to the city and to the people who live and work there. By improving Gloucester’s transport infrastructure, pedestrian and cycle routes as well as completing the city’s Inner Ring Road Gloucester is well-positioned for future growth.

Further important infrastructure is occurring at the East Hills Junction, off the A30 dual carriageway in Cornwall, which will unlock an important area in the Redruth, Pool and Camborne area. The £5 million project aims to bring thousands of high quality jobs, workspace, community facilities and new homes to Pool in West Cornwall. and form a key part of regeneration and employment efforts in the area.

Additional infrastructure has been undertaken by the HCA which will see the provision of a new road, which will enable 42 new apartments for an extra care elderly persons scheme at Devonport.

The HCA has also ensured that work on building sites continues by unlocking sites which have stalled over the past few months. These have included:

In Bristol the key focus for the HCA is, amongst other initiatives, unlocking sites to provide for new housing and growth: The HCA has agreed to purchase part of the Blackberry Hill Hospital site from North Bristol NHS Trust and will redevelop the site to provide a mix of 355 new and affordable housing as well as 2,000m square of employment space. Services from the hospital have been relocated and the funds/capital receipts from the sale will contribute towards a new hospital for the benefit of the North Bristol community

In Yeovil, the Homes and Communities Agency has worked with Spectrum Housing and South Somerset District Council to restructure HCA’s investment and secured additional investment to increase the provision of around 300 affordable homes. This investment now enables the entire scheme of 820 homes to progress.

A new approach has been taken by the HCA in the Vision@Devonport scheme in Plymouth. Here the HCA has taken a share in 48 new homes for first time buyers. This investment now enables a second phase of the scheme to be built which will result in a further 115 new homes.

A further 460 new homes will be built as a result of the HCA funding Somer Housing to convert 115 open market properties for rent-to-buy and some social rent. By securing funding for Somer Housing more of their sites can now be progressed. The 460 new homes will be built across a range of locations in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire on sites owned by Somer Housing as well as others which are being planned.

The HCA have also successfully organised a number of package programmes with Housing Association partners. This includes an investment programme with the Greensquare Group, to provide 518 affordable, good quality homes, mainly across the Wiltshire area, to be built over the next two or three years.

Returning Derelict Land to public use

Remediating a former mining site in Dolcoath has been a major investment for the HCA. The former CompAir Holman site had become overgrown with Japanese Knotweed and had dangerous mine shafts which needed capping. The HCA has enabled the eradication of the Knotweed and the remediation of the site so that work can commence on 390 new homes and 14,000m² of employment space. It is anticipated that the first phase will commence in 2010.

Colin Molton concluded: “The 2009/2010 year will see a period of consolidation and expansion. We have been successful because of the hard work and commitment of our local authority, developer and housing association partners. We will continue to work closely with our partners and to develop plans to ensure that local ambitions for new homes and communities are met.”

Email: Dianne.Collins@hca.gsx.gov.uk


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