James Bryson, Public Affairs Officer for PlaceShapers writes about the latest Diverse Voices session looking into the importance and value of lived experience in the housing sector
22 June 2021 more...
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Home building by PlaceShapers in the West Midlands means its eight members will increase their size by 10% by 2023.
Our eight members have 73,900 homes and are building 9,375 more by 2023. The region has a growing need for affordable housing. According to the Chartered Institute of Housing in its Housing in the West Midlands paper: “The increase in household numbers and under supply of housing over a number of years has increased the difficulties for many in the West Midlands, to access affordable housing. There are challenges, as nationally, for newly forming households to access mortgage finance. This has resulted in a rebalancing of the housing market, with reductions in owner occupation, and an increase in the use of the private rented sector, particularly by younger households.”
Dan Gray, from Aspire Housing which is one of our West Midlands members, said: “Our region has a growing need for affordable housing. To meet these needs, we have planned a considerable programme of investments, collaborating with partners and stakeholders to develop and invest in more homes for people in our communities.
“We focus on building high quality, affordable homes and invest in regenerating the areas that need it most. Everybody has the right to a home that meets their individual aspirations and our role is to ensure that we provide a range of high-quality homes to serve different needs for many years to come.”
Read what some members say
Our commitment to tackling the housing crisis has seen us accelerate development. We are currently working on 22 sites, with almost 900 homes in construction. In the last year we completed 551 new homes, including properties in Worcester, Cannock, Telford and Solihull, as well as investing £42.5m in existing homes.
In January 2019 we were named as one of just 23 associations to be awarded funding through the Strategic Partnership announced by Homes England.
The £38.7 million grant means we will build an additional 1000 affordable homes over the next five years, which is in addition to the 500 new homes we already plan to build each year between now and 2024.
Chief Executive Gary Fulford said: “We are now making our mark as a serious and growing provider of homes not just in Walsall but across the region.
In 2019 we built 20 brand new affordable homes, completed a 46 home shared ownership site and renovated one of our retirement villages.
We’re adding 18 new apartments to our popular retirement scheme Rowan Village, building 10 essential bungalows for local people who need one storey accommodation with 2 of these bungalows to be used by the Donna Louise Trust. Over the border in Cheshire we have an exciting shared ownership site in Leighton with both 2 and 3 bed homes for sale and we’re helping current shared ownership customers ‘staircase’ so they can own 100% of their home. What’s more, we’re investing in our domestic abuse refuges and always on the lookout for more supported housing accommodation to help make homelessness history in our local area.
We will build 100 new homes every year for the next decade – and are already on-target to exceed this commitment.
Two Rivers Housing currently has just over 4,000 properties and all new developments offer a mix of size and tenure, catering for a variety of needs. Shared Ownership also features strongly, giving people the opportunity to work towards owning their home outright.
Schemes vary in terms of their location, ranging from smaller projects of just a handful of houses in rural villages, to larger developments in the county’s towns. They all provide a safe, comfortable and affordable place to call home, whilst helping to support family networks, rural amenities and local employment.
Angharad Hodge, Development Team Leader, said: “This is a beautiful part of the country to live and work, and we need to increase the number and choice of low-cost properties available,” said “We are building our own homes and taking on the S106 commitments of other developers so that we can offer choice and variety right across the county – giving people opportunities and helping rural communities to survive and thrive.”
Aspire Housing, with 9,000 homes, has a development programme of £30m each year to 2024 and will have delivered 1900 homes by then. Each year we invest £15 million in our existing homes.
Our latest plans are to invest £14m in a flagship older persons’ scheme of 90 apartments in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre. This will involve the redevelopment of the Ashfields Grange and Hall Street flats site on the town centre ring road, creating a state-of-the-art independent living scheme that will provide 90 affordable, modern, one and two-bed apartments for older people.
The development will also operate as a community hub for older people and partner organisations within the local area, providing them with a place to socialise and engage in a range of activities and events. Dan Gray, Executive Director of Property at Aspire Housing, said: “We believe that the proposed older persons’ village in this prime town centre location will be a fantastic use of this site, providing our customers with suitable housing that allows them to live independently and to build an active and sociable community."
The members in the West Midlands are: