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Triodos Bank has agreed to loan High Bickington Community Trust £2m to begin the community owned-project.
The project will provide 18 affordable homes of part buy part rent and rented homes to local people, targeted at key workers and those people who want to stay within the village. New jobs and a green energy plan is also being created on the 7.2 hectare development along with community buildings such as a new primary school, games area and community woodland planned for the future.
The Homes and Communities Agency has invested £360,000 in the first phase of the development.
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Coast and County is firmly supporting the Empty Homes initiative by funding and supporting nine unemployed people in Teesside to learn new skills and help renovate ten homes in its first year (with an additional ten to follow).
The scheme will use landlord owned empty properties in the Redcar and Cleveland borough who will be offered a refurbishment package in return for leasing the property to Coast and Country.
The first property, at Park Terrace in Brotton, has been completed, with two more underway in nearby Marske.
“This scheme operates on two important levels,” said Iain Sim, Chief Executive at Coast & Country. “One is to help people learn construction skills to help improve their chances of finding work and the other is to make more affordable housing available to Redcar and Cleveland residents.
The scheme was made possible by a £250,000 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced that housing associations will be able to offer an additional Affordable Rent option to new tenants.
The Affordable Rent option will be in the form of a fixed term tenancy with a rent level higher than social rent (landlords are allowed to set rents up to 80 per cent of local market rents). Landlords will be able to offer the new tenancies in return for investment agreements, which will enable them to raise funds to build more affordable housing. The new flexible tenancies will only be applicable to vacant social rent properties and only after they have reached an investment agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency about how additional rental income will be reinvested in delivering new affordable housing.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
As part of the new measures to address the affordable homes shortage, housing associations will be able to offer flexible tenancies and deliver more affordable homes.
The additional option to be known as Affordable Rent will be offered to new tenants and offers housing associations the flexibility to offer fixed term tenancies at rent level higher than social rent (landlords are able to set rents up to 80 per cent of local market rents). The Affordable Rent option can only be applied to existing vacant homes but only after they have reached an investment agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency about how additional rental income will be reinvested in delivering new affordable housing.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
If the target of creating 150,000 new affordable homes is to be met by 2015, innovative measures will needed to be introduced and housing associations will need flexibility to use some of their stock for low-cost homeownership or outright sale.
In September housing association London and Quadrant (L&Q) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers issued a report entitled Hard Times 2 and it states that the use of different tenures will be required to meet the financial capacity.
The government has said housing associations will be able to charge up to 80 per cent of market rent to allow them to continue to build homes despite cuts to government grant. The landlord estimated that increasing rents by £1 a week and reducing operational costs by £1 could generate £4 billion across the social housing sector for new homes but this alone will not allow landlords to build the number of homes the government wants to see.
It is widely known that there is a distinct disparity between the demand and supply in the housing market which has also impacted new affordable housing being built across the UK . As the population continues to grows, the housing market has not kept up resulting in not enough homes being built. To compound this situation, last year house building levels fell to its lowest level in decades and the Government has created a set of new measures to deal with this.
One of the first decisions that the new Government has changed is the control over housebuilding from central government to local authorities and the community encouraging local delivery of sustainable development where it's needed and wanted, so that communities can really benefit from housing growth.
As part of this shift the Government has recently announced that they will extend a new Community Right to Build across England as part of the new Localism Bill.
Grant Shapps, Housing Minister said: