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Council appoints housing association for development programme

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Council appoints housing association for development programme

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

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A council has appointed a housing association to deliver its new housebuilding programme.

Epping Forest District Council appointed East Thames Group, which manages around 13,500 homes, in an agreement thought to be the first of its type where a local authority has appointed a housing association to deliver a whole development programme.

The £1.6 million contract to deliver around 120 new affordable rented homes is for an initial four years, with options to extend for up to a further three years. The appointment follows an EU procurement exercise, with most of the new homes being developed on difficult-to-let garage sites in the council’s ownership.

East Thames will provide all development, project management and professional building services for the Programme, including architectural, employer’s agency, planning supervision, engineering and surveying.  A key council requirement was that the development agent must already have framework agreements in place with building consultants to start the Programme quickly. Most professional building services will be provided for East Thames by Pellings.

The development agent role includes the undertaking of initial development and financial appraisals, preparation of planning applications, all resident consultation/liaison and the procurement and supervision of works contractors through design and build contracts.

“This is the right approach for us,” said councillor David Stallan, housing portfolio holder for Epping Forest District Council.  “The Council has not built any new homes for over 25 years, so we do not have the technical expertise in-house to undertake new housebuilding ourselves, so we are very pleased to announce this strategic partnership with East Thames, who we have already worked successfully with over a number years through our enabling role. 

“Not only did East Thames submit the most competitive price, but their tender submission was also assessed as providing the best quality.  Although we will continue to facilitate the provision of affordable housing in our district with all of our housing association partners, personally, I am looking forward to the day when we are able to build more Council homes each year than we sell through the Right to Buy.”

Initially 13 organisations, comprising both housing associations and private companies, expressed interest in tendering for the role, with six shortlisted to submit detailed tenders. 

East Thames will also be responsible for formulating the council’s development strategy and seeking Investment Partner status with the Homes and Communities Agency for the council. 

June Barnes, chief executive of East Thames Group, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Epping Forest to deliver affordable homes in the district.  We have designed and built thousands of high-quality affordable homes in east London and Essex, including in Epping Forest, over the past few years and we’ll draw on this expertise to deliver fantastic new Council homes for Epping Forest.”

The appointment is expected to commence in January 2013, with the development of the first sites starting on site commencing in early 2014.

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