City council and Cross Keys Homes set to collaborate to build new homes

Peterborough City Council and Cross Keys Homes have announced plans to create a new company that will build homes in the city.

Peterborough is already enjoying some of the fastest rates of house-building in the UK, but as the country's third fastest growing city, there is great pressure on housing.

In June 2015 the council established a cross party working group to assess its current housing strategy. This group supplied a scrutiny report in January 2016, which examined the considerable change in the city since the council’s housing stock was transferred to Cross Keys Homes in 2004.

Among the report’s recommendations were that the council should finance and build new homes to meet specific needs and that it should 'finance more affordable rented housing by supporting housing associations’.

In line with this, the new joint venture partnership would build all types of housing including affordable, market rent and outright sale homes.

As set out in the council's 2016/17 budget, the company would provide much-needed housing to meet the city's ongoing growth.

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: "It's no secret that the UK is in the grip of a housing crisis. As a fast-growing city, we are already building many homes to meet that growth, but there is more to do to support residents and businesses.

"We have already seen great success from the creation of the Peterborough Investment Partnership, which is driving the Fletton Quays development.

"Taking a similar partnership approach for housing presents a major opportunity to build much-needed new homes in the city."

Cross Keys Homes’ chief executive, Claire Higgins, added: “Over the last two years we’ve built 250 new homes in Peterborough and have another 528 in the pipeline making us one of the largest developers locally.

“We are committed for the long term to making a positive difference in Peterborough and building new homes of all types is a critical part of our plans and ambitions going forward.

“This joint venture partnership is all about providing good-quality homes in fantastic neighbourhoods. Our neighbourhoods cannot grow and prosper if people can’t afford to live there, and despite everything we face in terms of cuts, I am determined that we do something to make a home of your own a reality for as many people as possible. Working with the council is one of the many innovative ways we will look to do this.”

The new company will be funded in part by the money generated through Right to Buy, where residents purchase their council or housing association homes.

It's expected that £14.6 million will be invested from Right to Buy receipts into the joint venture company. Right to Buy receipts must be used to deliver new affordable homes.

At the Full Council meeting on Wednesday (13 July 2016) councillors agreed to make provision for potential investment of up to £20million into the new company, which would be used to build a range of housing. Actual investments into the company would be subject to the council's decision making process.

Both organisations stand to gain a share of future sales and portion of rental income which will either be re-invested to build more homes, or used to support services for residents.

The decision to form the joint venture company is subject to approval from the council's Cabinet and the board of Cross Keys Homes, for discussion at meetings this month. Cabinet will meet on Monday 25 July 2016.

A report supplied to the council's Cabinet proposes that an initial £100,000 investment should be made in order to establish the new company and to plan initial projects. It is hoped that the joint venture will be up and running in the autumn, with the first projects announced before the end of the year.

Projects, including the number of homes to be built, will be developed by the joint venture company once it's been established.

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