Social sector increases housing investment by 17 per cent in 2018

The social housing sector increased its investment in new and existing properties last year, according to the 2018 Global accounts of private registered providers. Overall, the sector’s future capital commitments totalled £28.6bn (of which £12.4bn has been contracted), which is an increase of 17 per cent compared to the figure reported in 2017.

The report found that there was a small increase in the underlying surplus gener- ated, which was used to support additional borrowings to fund capital investment. Capital investment also increased over the year, with £1.7bn in existing stock and £10.8bn in new housing supply, which includes social housing and properties for sale and market rent.

Expenditure on repairs and maintenance of existing social stock totalling £5bn increased by 3 per cent compared with 2017. Along with this, the operating surplus from social housing lettings decreased by 2 per cent to £5bn.

The value of the properties held for sale at the year end was £5.6bn, mainly consist- ing of land and work in progress rather than completed properties. This was an increase of 17 per cent on 2017. Published annually, the report is based on an aggregation of the financial state- ments of private registered providers of social housing who own or manage at least 1,000 homes. Together, this is claimed to

represent more than 95 per cent of the sector’s stock. This year’s publication included an annex

on the Value for Money (VfM) metrics, which were introduced alongside the April 2018 VfM Standard.

MMC utilised in LA pilot scheme

-A pilot scheme exploring the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver homes for affordable rent has been undertaken by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC). The LA has just completed its first modular building, having secured £120,000 worth of funding from Homes England.

The pilot development consists of four modular semi-detached two-bedroom properties, built on former garage sites on Ashington Road, Bedworth, and has been used to test the feasibility of using modular housing to increase the pace of housing delivery. Mat Byrne, head of development for

NBBC, explained: “We identified modular development as an efficient and cost- effective solution to respond to the growing demand for housing. We started from scratch and worked with a local firm to develop a working model for our homes. It’s been a long process and we’ve learnt a lot along the way, but as a result of the pilot, we’ve found that we are able to reduce the build time by approximately 10-12 weeks when compared with tradi- tional build. He continued: “This model has enabled

us to deliver homes in a reduced timeframe, without compromising on quality with the added benefit of minimis- ing disruption to residents living nearby as the time onsite is significantly reduced.” The team at NBBC has already identi-

SSSI impacts housing density on Medway development

The planned Lodge Hill development on the Hoo Peninsula in Medway is being reduced in size, in order to avoid direct Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) impacts on the site. This approach has been proposed by Homes England.

Following consideration of the environ- mental sensitivities in and around the site, the new plans are for up to 500 new homes, rather than the 2,000 originally proposed. Prior to the submission of a planning

application, Homes England will develop the masterplan proposals in more detail, which will be presented as part of a


public consultation. Ken Glendinning, head of strategic land at Homes England said: “We remain committed to creating new homes at Lodge Hill in line with the Government’s policy on use of surplus land, and we have always been aware of the sensitivities surrounding the important environmental elements of this development. “After careful consideration, we believe that this approach will avoid any impact on the SSSI, while still making an appropriate contribution to Medway’s housing need for local people.”

fied a further seven sites for potential development, and are working with other local authorities with a view to sharing the knowledge and expertise developed as a result of the pilot. They are also in the process of establishing a procurement framework through which they hope to provide suppliers with more assurances and greater volumes, and will be able to achieve economies of scale.

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