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Housing provider gets £80 million PFI contract

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Housing provider gets £80 million PFI contract

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Development, Local Government

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Thames Valley Housing Association (TVH) has been chosen by Woking Borough Council to provide 224 new affordable homes as part of an £80 million PFI contract.

TVH won Preferred Bidder status as part of 'Evolution' - a joint partnership it formed with developer Kier.

As part of the deal, Kier will build 149 homes for private sale. The developer and TVH will provide £40.5 million to build the affordable homes and Kier will provide £39.5 million for the private side of the development.

The affordable homes will be managed by TVH, which will receive all of the rents over the length of the 25-year PFI contract. The council will make annual contributions over the life of the contract, alongside government funding and investment from Evolution.

In a statement, TVH said: "The Evolution consortium, comprising TVH and Kier, will raise the finance to build the 224 affordable homes. Kier will finance the remainder of the contract delivering 149 private homes.

"TVH will manage the properties for the duration of the PFI contract which lasts for 25 years. At the end of the 25 years the management of the homes could revert to the council, but will likely stay with TVH. In either scenario, the affordable homes will remain affordable for the lifetime of the homes."

Both affordable homes and those for private sale on the mixed tenure development will mainly be two, three and four-bedroom houses, reflecting the needs of families in the Woking area.

The scheme will include a large play area and allotments for residents, and will be built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable homes.

As part of the contract TVH will provide residents with access to education and training including NVQs, apprenticeships and skills to return to the job market.

Geeta Nanda, TVH's CEO, said: “In the present economic climate, demand for housing far outstrips supply and the lack of bank finance has severely restricted housebuilders’ ability to bring forward new properties. This has contributed to a housing crisis of national proportions and now, more than ever, housing groups have a greater responsibility of finding ways to work with both the private and public sector to increase the supply. The provision of affordable housing has never been more important or necessary and our ability to deliver on projects of this kind has played a large factor in winning this significant contract.”

Cllr David Bittleston, chairman of Woking Borough Council's PFI Project Board, said: "I am delighted to announce Evolution as our preferred bidder for the Priority Homes housing development. There are many local people on our Housing Register waiting for decent, affordable social housing. This project will significantly help them and contribute to meeting the Council's Housing Strategy through a step-change in the provision of affordable housing within the Borough.”

Nigel Turner, managing director of Kier, added: “We are thrilled to have been selected by Woking Borough Council to bring forward our exciting plans to create 373 new homes. The mixed tenure development will play an important part in addressing the area’s housing shortage and we look forward to working with Thames Valley Housing to progress the development.”

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