Two major housing associations and the West of England Combined Authority are working together to build more much-needed affordable homes, more quickly.
Sovereign and LiveWest recently secured a Strategic Partnership with Homes England, the government’s housing delivery agency, to build 2,275 new homes across the South and West of England by 2024 with £111.5m grant funding.
Sovereign and LiveWest have ambitions to deliver half of these extra homes in the West of England area, which will be in addition to their existing investment and development programmes.
The two housing associations will also seek to build more of the homes themselves instead of relying on private developers and Section 106 planning agreements. This will give them more control over developments, including types of occupancy, and pace of delivery.
The new homes will be a mix of social or affordable rent as well as shared ownership, a more affordable way to home-ownership.
Tim Bowles, Mayor of the West of England, said: “It’s fantastic that the Sovereign and LiveWest partnership is responding to our need for more affordable homes by committing to major development in our region.
“This radical approach will help more people in our region secure the right type of home, in the right place and crucially, at the right price. The West of England Combined Authority is proud to support this Strategic Partnership, and I am confident that the partnership will deliver successful places where people will aspire to be.”
Mark Washer, Sovereign’s Chief Executive, said: “This partnership, a new way of working together, has the potential to be a real game-changer for many of the communities across the West of England, where people can really struggle to afford to rent or to buy a home.
“We have an excellent track record, but by combining the skills and investment of Sovereign, LiveWest, Homes England and our local authority partners, we’ll be able to take the lead on more sites, building even more homes, even more quickly than we could apart.”
Paul Crawford, Chief Executive of LiveWest, said: “As the largest housing organisation operating solely within the South West it is incredibly important that we do everything we can to help solve the housing crisis within our geography.
“This new Strategic Partnership provides both LiveWest and Sovereign with a unique opportunity to focus our combined resources and expertise on delivering more affordable homes where they are most needed.”
Jackie Jacob, General Manager for Housing Programmes at Homes England, said: “We are working with ambitious housing associations across the country to meet the challenge of creating more affordable homes in the areas where they’re most needed.
“Our strategic partnership with Sovereign and LiveWest is a clear statement of our intent to get better homes built faster for people in some of the least affordable areas in the South West and we look forward to working with them to achieve this goal.”
Sovereign is already providing new homes in and around Bristol, with 70 new homes at Spring Acres, along the Bath Road, and as a member of the partnership transforming the former Blackberry Hill Hospital site.
LiveWest are also delivering new affordable homes on some of the largest allocations within the West of England and have a long track record of delivering high quality innovative homes across their geography.
Photograph (left to right): Phil Stephens, Interim Development Projects Director, Sovereign; Patricia Greer, Chief Executive of the West of England Combined Authority; Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor; and Paul Crawford, Chief Executive, LiveWest.