Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda


Supplementary memorandum by English Partnerships (AFH 61(a))



  We are working with the Housing Corporation, Local Authority, RDA and other partners to secure the comprehensive regeneration of the Woodside Estate in Telford (2,350 homes). DTLR has recently invited proposals from a number of areas to tackle the problems of abandonment and housing market failure through the Pathfinder Housing Abandonment Areas initiative. The Woodside Estate in Telford falls within such a pathfinder area and the Woodside Project is an opportunity to pilot such an initiative.

  We propose to apply the same principles to two further rundown estates. These are the Five Links Estate in Basildon (1,600 homes) and Castlefields in Runcorn (2,247 homes). In all these areas, regeneration would introduce a broader price and tenure mix and support improvements to local services and facilities as part of an area wide regeneration strategy.


  At the request of DTLR's Affordable Housing Unit, we are exploring the contribution that we can make to the Government's Starter Home Initiative. The initiative aims to help around 10,000 key workers, particularly nurses, teachers and police to buy homes in areas where high house prices would otherwise prevent them from living in, or near, the communities they serve. To respond to DTLR's request, we have reviewed our own portfolio and believe that we could theoretically facilitate the provision of up to 2,000 key worker homes in the south or England, making use of our own land assets, over the next three years. Having established the supply position, we are now discussing with our partners the volume, timing and type of demand for key worker housing.


  We are working with the Housing Corporation, EMDA and other partners to develop a single purpose vehicle to tackle the problems of the former Coal Board housing in the Meden Valley. The scheme has the potential to refurbish 400 homes and to facilitate the development of 240 dwellings, along with complementary public realm and environmental improvements. The scheme will produce homes across the price range required to support community renewal which can be sustained into the long-term.


  The first developments in Greenwich pioneered an approach which will deliver a broad range of housing at both open and below market out turn costs. With the benefit of this experience, new millennium communities will provide greater certainty through the briefing process and increasingly improve on the delivery of housing across a broad price range. We are discussing future designations with the Housing Corporation at this early stage to secure their input to the programme, and thus enhance the range and/or lower the cost of the affordable housing provided.


  English Partnerships' Strategic Join Ventures initiative to make better use of public sector land takes a proactive approach to unlocking the potential of previously used land. In particular, we are working closely with NHS Estates, Defence Estates and Rail Property Ltd. Opportunities exist to contribute to affordable provision through the early development of redundant facilities such as surplus health care accommodation in urban areas. For example, surplus NHS property tends to be in central locations with good public transport links; suitably refurbished, they could provide affordable homes which could be delivered in a relatively short time scale.

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