Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassador Hightown Housing Association has built over 1,000 new affordable homes in the two year period from April 2017 to March 2019.
Operating mainly in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, Hightown built 827 new affordable homes for rent and 220 homes for shared ownership. The homes are spread over 15 local authority areas, with 293 homes built in Dacorum and the majority of the others in Aylesbury Vale, Luton, St Albans and Chiltern.
Hightown expects to build a further 1,000 new affordable homes over the next two years (up to March 2021). Around 800 of the homes will be for rent and 270 for shared ownership.
Hightown recently purchased land in Wood Lane, Hemel Hempstead, which was previously occupied by the Top Car and Five Star Accident Repair Centre. Demolition has started and construction will begin in autumn this year to build 44 one and two bed flats for people in housing need on the local authority’s waiting list.
Construction is well underway at another Hightown site in Hemel Hempstead on the corner of Redbourn Road and Swallowdale Lane. The site was previously a disused office block known as Viking House. The outdated building is being replaced with contemporary architecture, with the entrance at Redbourn Road leading into a courtyard, and a children’s play area, surrounded by three four-storey blocks, rising to a nine-storey block creating a ‘landmark’ corner building.
The new development will provide 87 homes for intermediate and affordable rent, in the shape of one and two bedroom flats. These new homes are likely to be ready for residents to move in at the end of 2019.
The housing association spent around £120 million (gross figure) on its development programme in 2018/19 – offset by £21 million in shared ownership sales receipts and a £13 million social housing grant. Around £18 million of the expenditure came from Hightown’s revenue surplus on an annual turnover of £84 million.
David Bogle, Hightown’s Chief Executive said:
“There is huge demand for affordable housing in Herts, Bucks and Beds and we are delighted to have been able to build up our capacity over several years so as to deliver a substantial annual development programme averaging over 500 homes a year. We do not build for market sale or market rent so all of the homes are affordable. It is central to our social purpose to be helping to tackle the homelessness crisis through building new homes and providing high quality support services.”
Hightown owns and manages over 6,400 homes and provides care and support services to over 850 vulnerable and disabled people.