Unique partnership with developer creates new affordable housing

27 January 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council has formed an innovative agreement with Vistry Partnerships which will see the building of more affordable houses in the borough.

Planning permission has been granted for Vistry to start work on building affordable homes on Council-owned land: the former Atherton County Primary School and Rivacre Business Centre in Ellesmere Port, and the former Handley Hill Primary School in Winsford.

An agreement, rarely seen in the UK, has seen the Council receive affordable housing from the developer instead of a land receipt.
  • 55 new build residential units will be built at the former Atherton County Primary School, of which the Council will be receive 16 new homes for rent
  • 52 new build residential units at the former Rivacre Business Centre, of which the Council will receive 16 homes for rent
  • 82 new build residential units at former Handley Hill Primary School, of which the Council will receive 25 homes for rent.
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: "It is no secret that there is a housing crisis in this country. In Cheshire West we are working on innovative new ways to increase the number of council houses we have available. With 9,000 people on our waiting list and only 1,200 properties becoming available for rent last year, then it is obvious that we need to build more capacity.

"These three sites are part of an ambitious housing and regeneration programme that has been adopted by the Council to proactively facilitate and directly deliver new homes on Council-owned land. The developments will deliver brand new, high quality, local authority affordable housing and homes for sale on under-utilised or vacant sites, in accessible locations with good transport links."

Vistry Partnerships Managing Director Brendan Blythe described the step as great news for local people. He said: "We are delighted to have secured planning permission three sites in the Cheshire West and Chester area from the council and to be working alongside them in this important trio of housing developments.

"It will enable us to deliver a wide mix of housing options and we look forward to working in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council once again to bring much-needed council housing to the area."

The scheme is supported by £2.8m of the Government's Accelerated Construction funding programme.

This follows the recent handing over of the final three Council homes on the 45-home Chase Park housing development in Ellesmere Port by Vistry Partnerships.

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