£9.7 million to invest in new affordable homes
Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Environment, Local Government
Two Rivers, District Council and HCA representatives mark the opening of a recent new housing development in Cinderford
A total of £9.7 million will be invested in 76 new low-cost, energy-efficient homes in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire over the next three years – giving 235 people the chance to move to homes they can afford.
£7.6 million of this investment will be made by Two Rivers Housing. The remaining £2.1 million comes from the Homes and Communities Agency, secured after the not-for-profit housing association bid for the money, with the backing of Forest of Dean District Council.
The majority of homes will be built before the end of March 2018. They will be predominantly one-bedroom flats and two-bedroom houses, meeting local demand for smaller homes. Most will be available for affordable rent, but a proportion will be offered under the part-rent, part-mortgage Shared Ownership scheme, giving a helping hand to those who want to take a first step towards owning their own home.
Two Rivers will also respond to the Government’s wish for housing associations to make best use of their assets by selling 32 of its existing properties to help fund the programme. These will be three-bedroom homes that have poor levels of energy efficiency and are less popular with tenants. On average, two new homes are built for every property sold.
“This is an excellent result for people looking for a home they can afford in the Forest of Dean,” said Matt Hunt, Director Development and Asset Management at Two Rivers, who led the bid. “There is huge demand for one and two-bedroom properties from families, young people who want to live independently and older people looking to down-size. Changes to the benefits system has increased the demand for smaller homes.
“Now we have the funds in place, we can create homes people want to live in, built to modern standards and incorporating features to keep household bills low.”
Cllr Patrick Molyneux, Leader of Forest of Dean District Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “We are delighted with the news that Two Rivers Housing has been successful with their bid and have secured 100% of the HCA funding they applied for. The District Council has a strong and long-standing partnership with Two Rivers and we were pleased to support them throughout the application process.
“The approved bid follows a number of other successful funding bids by Two Rivers in recent years, and is great news for the Forest. The funding will help to ensure that future development takes place to provide affordable homes across the district to meet the housing need of the local community.”
Cllr Terry Hale, Cabinet Member for the Community added: “Congratulations to Two Rivers Housing in securing the HCA funding. The success of this bid is extremely important to the Forest and will ultimately result in housing being built within local communities and provide affordable homes for people that really need them.”