English council mulls housing model

A council in north-west England has launched a market engagement to consider the delivery model for an affordable housing scheme.

Cheshire East Council is exploring ways to increase its affordable housing provision and is looking at ways to utilise surplus land assets. The former Hollins View Care Home in Macclesfield has been declared surplus and consideration is being given to the development of an affordable housing scheme on the site.

The council wishes to consult with organisations that have relevant experience in the delivery, development and management of affordable housing schemes. The purpose of the consultation is to seek the views of market participants and to help in planning and conducting the appropriate procurement procedure. The council is keen to understand the attractiveness of the opportunity to the market.

Initial feasibility work has considered a net development area of circa 1.05 acres and estimated that in the region of 18 to 22 dwellings per acre can be accommodated on the site. Demolition of the Hollins View buildings is due to be completed by the end of January 2019 by the council’s contractors to provide a clear development site.

The council does not have the mechanisms to manage the new housing provision and therefore would be looking for an organisation with a proven track record in relation to the development and management of social housing.

Questionnaires are due by 11 February, while a contract notice is expected to be issued in May.

Meanwhile, Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (MIDIS) has arranged and financed long-term debt facilities totaling £150m, including a private placement of £90m to charitable registered housing provider Alliance Homes. 

Gareth Edwards, an associate director in MIDIS, commented: “There is a clear government directive in delivering more affordable homes at this time, and we are very pleased to have provided funding to Alliance Homes at this juncture in their evolution. We continue to see strong demand from investors seeking to support the UK’s social infrastructure needs."

Alliance Homes currently owns and manages around 6,500 homes that are largely social and affordable properties in the South West of England