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Stafford housing and jobs boost in multi-million new scheme

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 22, 2014

New housing welcomed by Stafford Borough Council

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A STAFFORD housing association is gearing up to build dozens of new affordable homes around the area after winning multi-million pound government funding.

A range of planned projects by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) have now been given the green light after the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) agreed to meet up to 20 per cent of the overall costs of the developments.

In total, the HCA will provide £2.24 million towards the cost of building around 110 homes in Friars Terrace and Hesketh Road, Stafford, and in Hixon.

The sites were identified as suitable for affordable housing by SARH in consultation Stafford Borough Council.

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Chris Poulton, director of asset management and development at SARH, explained: "To secure the funding we had to set out a very strong case that the schemes we proposed met real housing needs and represented value for money.

"Planning permission also needed to be in place and we had to demonstrate that we were in a position to move forward with the proposals, something we have been able to do with the support of the borough council."

As well as providing new homes for local people, the projects are expected to deliver a significant jobs boost for the area, with local builders and tradespeople set to carry out much of the work.

"We will also be sourcing the materials locally and now all the funding is in place these schemes will help to create new jobs while securing many others," Mr Poulton said.

The projects to benefit from the funding include the construction of 43 new homes, at a total cost of £4.6 million, in Friars Terrace. Of these properties, nine will be available under a shared ownership scheme that enables people to get a first foot on the housing ladder at a lower cost than outright purchase.

A further seven homes, including two shared ownership properties, are to be built in Hixon and the grant will also help to cover the £7.5 million cost of redeveloping the housing association's existing homes in Hesketh Road.

"In the case of Friars Terrace and Hesketh Road, the project includes the redevelopment of existing buildings to make way for new homes and we are planning to start work on site next year," Mr Poulton said.

Karen Armitage, SARH chief executive commented: "We are delighted that the HCA has recognised the importance of these schemes and the benefits they will bring to the local community.

"The funding will enable us to push forward with our existing plans while enabling us to start planning for the future. This will include looking at new schemes that will help us to meet the future housing needs of Stafford and its surrounding rural areas while strengthening the communities we serve."

Councillor Patrick Farrington, Cabinet Member for Community at Stafford Borough Council, said: "The awarding of the HCA grant is excellent news for everyone in the area.

"As well as helping to fund much needed housing schemes, the money will find its way back into the community by creating new jobs and making the borough a better place to live and work."

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