A major partnership between the city council, a private sector investor and the government is to create a multi-million-pound housing-led regeneration of two areas of the city.
Earlier this month Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet agreed to a programme of work that will see 379 new affordable homes built on cleared brownfield land in Pyenest Street, Shelton and at a 1960s housing scheme at the top of Bucknall New Road, Hanley.
Now the authority has announced it will work with social property investor Cheyne Capital, and government agency Homes England to deliver the £40m programme, in the first public-private sector partnership of its kind in the city.
The council has been working with residents in the Bucknall New Road area for more than 12 months on plans to redevelop the site and their feedback has been incorporated into the plans for development. This includes an increase in rented accommodation, particularly one-bedroom apartments suited to older people, and family housing. The redeveloped site will also offer residents more car parking, improved waste management facilities, extra security and landscaping.
In order to complete the development at Bucknall New Road, 155 low rise flats and maisonettes will need to be cleared. More than half of these properties are already vacant. The council will continue to work closely with residents throughout the process. The developments will create a net gain of 224 new high quality affordable homes. The work is part of a wider regeneration of the area, which has already seen the council refurbish three of its five high-rise residential blocks. This work will continue with Wellington Court and Westwood Court becoming supported living accommodation.
Under the initiative, the council will develop its own company to be a registered provider of affordable housing which will enable it to access grant support from government agency Homes England.
Cheyne Capital’s Social Property Impact Fund is responsible for buying the land and funding the development and build at the two sites. It will lease the properties to the city council on a 40-year lease and at the end of this period the council will have the opportunity to buy the properties for £1. The properties will be eligible for Homes England funding, to help ensure they can be available at an affordable rent. The council’s housing repairs and maintenance company Unitas will be responsible for maintaining the properties.
Councillor Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “This project is really exciting. We have worked in a completely new and innovative way to put forward a programme of work that will deliver the multi-million pound regeneration of two areas of the city in need of attention. It is a project that we do not have the public funds available to lead ourselves; but by working collaboratively with the private sector we can raise the quality of accommodation and life of hundreds of families, and rejuvenate communities.”
Caroline Cormack, head of home ownership and supply in the Midlands for Homes England, said: “We welcome Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s ambitions for this development and are excited to be working with them to explore the best solutions for both of these sites to accommodate the housing needs of the local communities.”
Darren Carter, Investment Director for Social Property at Cheyne Capital, said: “We know that partnering socially responsible capital with Councils and government agencies can accelerate the delivery of high quality, affordable and inclusive homes to communities that need them most.
“We were impressed by Stoke-on-Trent Council’s progressive attitude towards addressing their housing needs and are excited to be involved in this landmark project”.
Under the proposals, the Pyenest Street site would be developed first, with new homes expected to be available in spring 2022. Work on the Bucknall New Road site would then begin in summer 2022, with an expected completion date of summer 2026.