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Home Group’s plans for its £62m surplus

22nd August 2014

By Mark Henderson, chief executive, Home Group Anyone browsing the webpages of social housing publications recently can’t fail to have noticed one thing – it’s that time of year when associations post their annual reports. The sector has been keen to shout about how despite tough times many providers have increased or posted record surpluses. The sums involved are not inconsiderable. In Home Group’s case we recorded a £62.1m operating surplus in the last year and that...

Former housing minister Mark Prisk paid £208 an hour by private developer

22nd August 2014

One of the coalition government's ex-housing ministers has secured a well-paid job with a private housing developer. Mark Prisk MP, who served as housing minister for 13 months over 2012-23, is being paid £15,000-£20,000 a year by Essential Living for one day's work a month - equating to £208 an hour. As reported in Private Eye, in January Essential Living urged the government to "remove unnecessary planning barriers to the development of new stock for the private rented sector" e...

Dozens of new 'affordable' homes for Stafford

22nd August 2014

A Stafford-based housing association is set to build dozens of new 'affordable' homes after securing £2.24 million from the Homes and Communities Agency. A number of Stafford and Rural Homes' (SARH) development projects have been given the green light after the regulator agreed to meet up to 20% of the overall costs. SARH will build 110 homes across Stafford on sites initially put forward for development "thanks to a close working relationship between SARH and Stafford Borough Council". The p...

Scottish housing output up 7%

21st August 2014

The number of new homes in Scotland has risen by 7% in the last year, official figures published today have revealed. Nearly 16,000 homes were built in the year to March 2014, compared to just under 15,000 the previous year - the first increase since 2007-08 and the beginning of the recession. The figure includes new build housing, rehabilitations and conversions. Private sector housebuilding and housing association rehabilitations accounted for the largest share of the growth, with private se...

Council to build hundreds of homes

21st August 2014

A council has decided to build hundreds of new homes over the next three years. Waltham Forest Council has secured £16.7 million in grants and loans to develop 435 properties. The London borough successfully bid for a £9.7m grant from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and a £7m loan facility from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). A grant funding pot of £404m was made available by the GLA for councils and housing associations to bid to build afforda...

Opinion: Over 200 in two years but we still need more homes

20th August 2014

By Paul Diggory, chief executive, North Wales Housing It’s 40 years since North Wales Housing was established to build homes for older people and complement the work of local authorities. As the organisation has grown it has evolved into a much more diverse social enterprise. But arguably the need for new homes is as great as it was back in 1974. Current trends in tenure across the UK are likely to see owner-occupation and social housing declining while private renting increases. All pol...

600 'affordable' homes coming to Manchester after £47m investment

20th August 2014

A £47 million investment package is due to bring nearly 600 'affordable' homes to Manchester. The city council has successfully supported 37 bids across 43 development sites as part of the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) 2015-2018 Affordable Homes Programme. The HCA's £11.5m in grant funding has been matched by £35.5m from the city's housing associations. In total, the £47m investment will build 439 'affordable' homes for rent and 159 homes for 'affordable' ...

Gateshead Scientology 'church' left empty for seven years

19th August 2014

The Church of Scientology has left a former care home in Gateshead empty for the last seven years. The Windmill building was bought in 2007 by Richard Pickles, who the church has described as one of its "parishioners". The church planned to turn the derelict into a "centre for spiritual enlightenment" but today it is plagued by drug users and squatters, the BBC reported. The area around the building is littered with discarded sofas and has become a magnet for vandals, locals have said. The church ...

£20m pledged for 'affordable' homes by social landlord

19th August 2014

A social landlord has committed to spending £20 million on building new 'affordable' homes over 2015-18. Peaks & Plains Housing Trust's (PPHT) announcement follows its successful bid for £3.8m in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. The trust will supplement the additional £16.2m from its own funds. PPHT intends to build 170 homes in the Cheshire East and High Peak areas by 2018. It additionally plans to buy 80 homes from private developers, which will be offered ...

HA knocks up two family homes in a day

19th August 2014

A housing association has "made history" after constructing two family homes in a single day. The Accord Group performed the feat in front of the new Housing Minister Brendan Lewis last week. Alan Yates, Accord's executive director of regeneration, said: “Erecting two family homes in just one day was certainly a challenge. So why did we do it? “Although it was a feat, we felt it was important to demonstrate just how effective offsite manufacturing is and that it is possible to build...