A HOUSE builder has revealed plans to invest around £60m nationwide to buy land and begin developments after a year of growth.
Doncaster-based Keepmoat Homes, which employs around 100 staff in the North East, said it is on target to complete over 400 units in the region by April. This represents a 13% growth on last year and a 42% improvement over 2009/10.
The figures come despite stringent lending restrictions for buyers, a 10% fall in new home planning permissions and a 58% drop in social homes approvals in the UK.
Richard Bass, regional managing director, said: “This will enable us to provide over 500 affordable homes to rent and buy across the region, while safeguarding over a hundred construction jobs. We are also intending to create new apprenticeship opportunities to help young people secure their first job.
“The figures on falling planning permissions demonstrate why government must deliver a system that provides enough land to meet the nation’s housing needs. Its recent housing strategy contained some very positive measures, but if they are to bear fruit, the planning system must be fit for purpose.”
Keepmoat Homes’ success in partnership working with local authorities and affordable housing providers was illustrated by the recent award of three development projects by Leazes Homes and Newcastle City Council. An £11m investment in sites at Fenham, Lemington and South Gosforth will create 86 new homes, 15 of which will be affordable homes for rent.
The contract will also generate cross subsidy to allow Keepmoat Homes’ sister company, Frank Haslam Milan, to construct special needs housing for Leazes Homes on a further seven sites in the city.
Keepmoat Homes North East Land and Partnership’s director Ian Prescott said: “The approach of mixing Homes and Communities Agency grant with cross subsidy from private homes for sale is an imaginative way of meeting the challenge of providing family homes for rent and delivering much needed special needs accommodation. This partnership approach is undoubtedly set to become the norm.”
In addition, Keepmoat Homes has secured sites to build a further 428 mixed tenure homes including 45 two and three bedroomed homes at Shiremoor in North Tyneside, 55 two and three bedroomed homes in Crawcrook, Gateshead, and 63 two and three bedroomed properties at Bearpark and two sites at Esh Winning in County Durham.
There will also be 182 two, three and four bedroomed homes at Newton Aycliffe and 83 two and three bedroomed homes on a regeneration site in central Hartlepool.
The company also hopes planning permission will be secured in January for the first, 378-home phase of the New Tyne West Development Company partnership regeneration scheme with Newcastle City Council, Barratt and Yuill in Scotswood.