Monday, 5 August 2013

District set to benefit from affordable housing funding

Lancaster district is set to benefit from new funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to bring forward new affordable housing developments in the area.

Adactus Housing Association and Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association, both key partners of Lancaster City Council and existing providers of affordable housing in the area, have been successful in securing grant funding for five new developments.

Adactus Housing Association have been awarded grant funding to bring forward three new schemes, a development of eight houses at Hornby, a scheme of 53 properties at the former Riverview Hostel site on Newton Estate, Lancaster (a mixed development of one, two and three-bedroom properties) and a development of 16 one-bedroom flats at Long Marsh Lane, Lancaster.

In addition to the grant funded schemes, Adactus are the selected registered provider for the new development at Lune Mills, Lancaster, and will be negotiating to secure 19 properties to let as social housing as part of the wider residential development being built by Barratts and Redrow.

Guinness Northern Counties have secured funding for two affordable housing schemes and plan to provide a development of 18 properties (12 one-bedroom flats and 6 two-bedroom houses) at Brindle Close, Scale Hall Farm, Lancaster, and 24 one-bedroom flats at Luneside East, Lancaster.

Councillor Karen Leytham, Cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said: “We are highly delighted that the new funding from the HCA will provide a much needed increase in new affordable housing schemes in the district.

“The council works very closely with Guinness Northern Counties and Adactus and fully supported the funding bids. The five proposed schemes will include much needed one bedroom accommodation, which is already in short supply, and with the impact of the recent welfare reforms, will allow social housing providers to help those most affected as well as other people in housing need.”

Adactus Housing Association, in partnership with Lancaster City Council, have also secured grant funding under the Government’s Homelessness Change Programme, to provide a much needed supported housing scheme for single homeless people. Full details and proposals to deliver this new service will shortly be available once finalised.

“We are delighted that the HCA has yet again demonstrated its confidence in the Group to help deliver local plans for new affordable housing, said Garnet Fazackerley, the Assistant Director of Development for the Adactus Housing Group. "The development of these new homes in Lancaster is great news for local residents in need of quality affordable housing in the area. We will work closely with the local community, Lancaster City Council and the HCA to ensure the new homes we develop meet the needs of the local people and make a positive difference to their lives and neighbourhood.”

Allan Ramsay, Guinness Northern Counties’ Director of Investment and Regeneration, added: “Guinness looks forward to strengthening its excellent relationship with the HCA and Lancaster City Council, in helping provide much needed affordable housing within the authority.

"Lancaster is a key development area for Guinness Northern Counties. We are grateful for the support both partners have given not only to these two new and exciting developments, but also to two existing schemes currently on site which will deliver another 39 homes.”

With the grant funding in place, registered providers can now seek planning approval to bring the proposed new developments forward. Most of the properties will be advertised through the Council’s “Ideal Choice Homes” Choice Based Lettings Scheme, which is normally 8-12 weeks before final handover of properties.

In April 2013, there were 1927 households included on the council’s housing register, and of those, 1159 needed one bedroom accommodation. Since then the overall number of applicants has increased to 2542, with the number of applicants requiring one bedroom accommodation rising to 1517.

The total affordable housing provision in Lancaster district is currently around 6000 dwellings, with the council being the largest social housing provider with just under 3,800 homes and the remainder belonging to other private registered providers.

The vacancy rate of existing social housing is normally around 500 properties each year.

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