Fortress and Castle team member conquers the Thames Path Mighty Hike

Fortress and Castle team member conquers the Thames Path Mighty Hike

Fortress and Castle team member Becky Wilson stormed the Thames Path Mighty Hike this July, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

The scenic route, which is approximately 26 miles, follows the iconic Thames river from Windsor to Henley. Participants are estimated to take between 7.5 hours and 12.5 hours to complete the course.

Becky, who took on the challenge as part of a group of 11 family and friends, reached the finish line in position 30 out of over 2000 people taking part on the day. Her partner Mark came in next, in position 31.

Becky and Mark en route.

And at the finish line!

The 11-strong team have so far raised a huge £5239.77 for Macmillan Cancer Support, with that total currently still rising as pledges are received for their achievement.

The team

All money raised from the event goes straight to Macmillan, with each entrant raising a minimum of 250 pounds as a condition of entering the event.

Macmillan provides emotional, physical and financial support for people living with cancer. For more information on their fundraising events click here.

One Housing and Countryside partner for 700-home Camden regeneration project

One Housing and Countryside partner for 700-home Camden regeneration project

G15 housing association One Housing has announced home builder Countryside as a preferred development partner for the Camden Goods Yard regeneration project.

Subject to formalising contracts, One Housing has selected Countryside to enter into a 50:50 joint venture partnership. It will see the housing provider and home builder jointly planning, designing, funding and delivering a comprehensive regeneration of Gilbeys Yard and Juniper Crescent estates in Camden. The project is subject to a positive resident ballot and is planned over an eight-year period.

Juniper Crescent and Gilbeys Yard are located either side of Morrisons supermarket behind the Stables Market in Camden.

Currently, 202 homes are provided but the scheme will look to deliver around 650-700 units including new homes for the current residents.

Resident engagement has been made an an integral part of the regeneration project, with a resident steering group part of the procurement team to select the joint venture partner. Residents will also be provided with a landlord offer prior to a ballot in March 2020 to decide on the future of their estates.

Mike Johnson, group director of development, One Housing said: “Following a rigorous procurement process, we are looking forward to working with Countryside, our residents and the London Borough of Camden to deliver this project.

“Countryside share our commitment to providing high quality new homes. We were also impressed by their approach to resident engagement and their ability to demonstrate that they could deliver on added social value and community benefits.”

Andy Fancy, managing director, partnerships South (North and South), Countryside, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with One Housing on this landmark mixed-use regeneration scheme in the heart of Camden.

“We are looking to deliver more than three times as many high-quality homes including affordable homes as well as ensuring that local residents benefit from attractive public open spaces and crucial local amenities – all vital in creating sustainable communities.”

Monika Petrasova, on behalf of the Residents Steering Group said: “We have been pleasantly surprised by the level of involvement in the regeneration project from the start. We were part of the moderation meeting, which has never happened before, and we also marked all the tender submissions”.

New Homes England statistics show significant increase in affordable homes

New Homes England statistics show significant increase in affordable homes

Government housing accelerator Homes England has published its latest annual housing statistics looking at the period between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019.

The findings show there were 45,692 new houses started on site under programmes managed by Homes England and 40,289 houses completed. These are the highest levels of starts for nine years and the highest levels of completions for four years.

Of the starts on site, 67 per cent were for affordable homes – a 10 per cent increase on 2017-18. Similarly 71 per cent of housing completions in 2018-19 were for affordable homes which is an 11 per cent increase on 2017-18 figures.

A total of 17,772 affordable homes started in 2018-19 were for Affordable Rent – a 4 per cent increase on the previous year. 11,560 were for schemes including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy – a 24 per cent increase on 2017-18. The remaining 1,231 were for Social Rent – a 12 per cent decrease on the previous 12 months.

Of the affordable homes completed, 18,895 were for Affordable Rent – representing a 4 per cent decrease on the previous year, whereas the 8,854 completed under affordable housing schemes including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy represent a 75 per cent increase on 2017-18.

Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, said: “At a time where the average house costs around eight times the average income, these are positive signs that the delivery of homes, and particularly affordable homes, is on the up.

“However, there is still a huge amount of work to do to make sure this trend continues. We’re just getting started and need the sector to join us in our mission to make sure we continue to deliver homes across the country for the people who need them the most.”

Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “It’s great to see our housing accelerator has their foot firmly on the gas with nearly 29,000 new affordable homes finished last year.

“Getting these properties built is all part of our cast-iron commitment to making sure everyone has the opportunity to realise the dream of a stable home.

“But there is more to do, and so this Government is providing serious support, including £44 billion of funding and guarantees, to build more, better, faster.”

The figures reflect the latest set of official statistics in relation to housing starts and completions for England, excluding London, for all programmes except those administered by Homes England on behalf of the Greater London Authority.

The list of programmes included in these totals are detailed in the official housing statistics report, which can be found here.

L&G reveal first four housing schemes from their new affordable housing arm

L&G reveal first four housing schemes from their new affordable housing arm

Legal & General Affordable Homes has unveiled the locations of its first four affordable housing schemes. The sites in Croydon, Cornwall, Dunstable and Shrivenham will comprise 278 new homes.

Insurance firm L&G announced the launch of new subsidiary, L&G Affordable Homes, back in April. The housing provider is aiming to deliver 3,000 homes annually within the next four years.

While Croydon, Cornwall, Dunstable and Shrivenham are the first schemes announced, L&G says it’s also secured a further pipeline of over 40 sites across the UK, facilitating their ambition to provide 1,500 homes in the next 24 months.

Across the four acquired sites, Legal & General will deliver a mix of social and affordable rental homes, grant-supported shared ownership homes and Section 106 schemes.

The first of these homes to be completed are in Leon House in Croydon and will be available from June 2019. This scheme comprises 50 shared ownership apartments in a well-linked London location.

Legal & General’s second acquisition in Cornwall is a Joint Venture with Coastline Housing Limited. L&G’s financial backing will support Coastline in its ambition to double its affordable housing completions to 600 per annum. The partnership’s first scheme in Falmouth will comprise 44 affordable homes across two building phases, available from June 2019.

The schemes in Dunstable and Shrivenham are being delivered under Section 106 agreements. Phoenix Park in Dunstable will be available to buyers from Q4 2019, comprising 23 shared ownership apartments.

The Shrivenham development has been acquired from Legal & General’s own house building arm, Legal & General Homes. This will deliver 109 homes at affordable rents and 52 shared ownership units. Homes will be available during the first half of 2020.

Ben Denton, managing director of Legal & General Affordable Homes, says: “There is an urgent need to accelerate the delivery of new affordable homes. We have made a great start in executing our development programme, alongside building our customer service platforms.

“[This announcement] marks the real start of our journey as we deliver our first affordable homes, working alongside high quality local providers to tackle the growing crisis.

“As demonstrated by the scope and range of our acquisitions and the significant pipeline we have secured, we remain committed to offering a choice of tenures to our future residents; deploying institutional capital at scale and pioneering new partnership models, such as the one we have set up with Coastline.

“This range of routes to market will help us meet our ambition to become a leading affordable housing provider in the UK and delivering the volume of affordable homes which the country desperately needs.”

Construction starts at £1bn Beam Park scheme in east London

Construction starts at £1bn Beam Park scheme in east London

The regeneration of Beam Park has officially begun, with construction work now underway. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site marking the start of construction and the completion of preparatory work.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development James Murray was in attendance, along with senior leaders from Countryside and L&Q.

The east London regeneration project will transform the derelict site of a former Ford manufacturing plant into the new 3,000-home Beam Park site, spanning 71.7 acres.

Charitable housing association L&Q and home builder Countryside are working in partnership to bring the project to fruition.

The development is the second-largest housing scheme in the UK to gain planning permission in 2018. It’s also one of only three regeneration schemes in London delivering 3,000 homes and providing 50 per cent of affordable housing (1,513 homes).

The first phase of the development will deliver 640 new homes and new community facilities, including a medical centre and railway station.

The Beam Park station is located on the C2C line, providing direct links into central London. Phase one will also see the delivery of a primary school and park.

Sales of the new homes are due to launch in May this year, with the first properties ready in 2020. The first phase of the development is due to be finished by 2022, with the full Beam Park scheme due for completion in 2030.

The completed site will include a further school along with retail spaces, a gym, nursery, a multi-faith space and two energy centres.

Andy Rowland, managing director for the east region, commented: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the start of construction works on site at Beam Park.

“This project will bring major benefits to east London, including much needed quality new homes with 50 per cent affordable housing, alongside significant infrastructure improvements and community amenities.

“Working with Countryside, we’re proud to be involved in making such an important contribution to London’s housing needs, meeting strong local demand by creating new homes in a wide range of tenures.”

Robert Wilkinson, managing director of partnerships south (east) for Countryside, added: “We have the incredible opportunity to create a thriving new destination in east London, delivering one of London’s largest housing developments, with 3,000 homes, two schools, community facilities, retail spaces, a railway station and much more.

“Beam Park will undoubtedly have a truly transformative impact across the area with community and the wellbeing at the heart of our plans.

“This site has an incredible history, and we’re looking forward to utilising our extensive track record in regeneration with L&Q to bring this next chapter to life ensuring the legacy is captured while embracing modernity.”