I would like to take this opportunity to wish you the all the very best for 2019.
Arcon Housing Group is, as previously reported, considering an exciting offer to join the Bolton at Home Group in a merger that will enhance both social landlords’ opportunities to develop much needed new levels of housing supply in the future.
I want to provide an update on the significant progress we have made on all fronts regarding these merger discussions.
Merger discussions with Bolton at Home
Both Boards have now approved the Outline Business Case for the merger and we are now working towards a final ‘sign off’ in March of this year. We have listened carefully to residents’ views and held discussions with the Tenants Services Committee about the proposal, all of which will be fed into our Board’s consideration around the offer to join Bolton at Home’s group structure.
This is a strategic partnership with mutual benefits to enhance capacity and capability, with a range of new partners. We look forward to exciting times ahead.
Both social landlords are already working together as part of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ Group and our ambitions are to deliver in excess of 1,000 new homes over the next five years in our region at even greater pace than we may be able to provide individually. In Greater Manchester, some 200,000 new homes alone are needed in the next twenty years to meet existing and rising demand.
Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
The consultation for plans for the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which is Greater Manchester’s blueprint for Homes, Jobs and the Environment until 2037, has recently opened, with the aim of making our city fit for purpose.
This Framework will help us to address the housing challenges we all face and will help us collectively to meet our target of delivering 50,000 new affordable homes over the next 20 years across Greater Manchester.
We are looking forward to working in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and trust that over the coming months, the Spatial Framework consultation will assist us to explore a definition of affordability that works for Greater Manchester. We will work together to deliver the homes we need, with 30,000 of those affordable homes we provide being available at social rent.
As part of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers Group, we agree that to make rent levels truly affordable across Manchester, rents must be linked to local incomes, with big differences in wages across northern and southern parts of Manchester.
To get involved in this online consultation, which closes on March 18, please visit:
Specialist development team
We are proud of the expertise we have in our specialist development team, which has helped to extend our range of new homes, including our first new supported housing scheme in Droylsden, Tameside.
We are also working in partnership with national private homebuilders, including four new shared ownership homes at Albion Lock in Sandbach with Taylor Wimpey, as well as working with Bellway Homes at the prestigious Edenfields development in Boothstown, where we are offering a mix of shared ownership, affordable and social rent.
Prices at Edenfields start from £99,800 for a 40% share, with a low deposit and the rented properties have been advertised on Salford City Council’s Choice Based Lettings scheme - Salford Home Search and are set at £133 per week for a three-bed home and £152 per week for a four bed.
Right to Buy and Brexit
I was interested to see the impact of the Right to Buy scheme in London, with 42% of homes sold under the scheme in the capital now rented out by private landlords, many of whom have bought these at low prices to add to their portfolios. Many Councils up and down the country are now being forced to rent their former stock back from private landlords at inflated prices to house the ever increasing numbers of homeless families.
As housing providers, we are concerned that Brexit negotiations will drive up the costs of materials and labour impacting our delivery of new homes. The threat of a no-deal Brexit looms over us; we hope there will be a resolution of these matters in the coming weeks.
As always, if you have any issues or would like to get involved in our Tenant Scrutiny Committee, please contact our Customer Hub on 0161 214 4120.