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Staffordshire scheme opens for Ascent housing partnership

Published date : 7 November 2012

The Roaches Close housing development in Leek has opened and marks the start of a major programme of affordable housing in the Staffordshire Moorlands - the most ambitious since the Second World War.

The Ascent joint venture, a partnership between Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Your Housing Group, is investing £50m to develop 424 new homes over the next three years. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is playing a crucial role by contributing £8m of investment through its Affordable Homes Programme.

The first Ascent scheme completed, Roaches Close, is a 10-home development comprising two and three-bed homes for rent. It is soon to be followed by the completion of 22 homes in Cecilly Grove, Cheadle - 14 shared equity properties and eight for rent, with one of the houses developed for a family with two children with disabilities.

The programme also includes the £11m development of Staffordshire Moorlands’ first ever extra care scheme. Earmarked for a former factory site in the town of Leek, the Daisy Haye older people’s village will be an exemplar of best practice in retirement living, enabling independent yet safe lives for some of the most vulnerable members of the Moorlands community.

On top of the HCA funding, the Council and Your Housing Group have committed both land and £5m each while the council has agreed to prudentially borrow £20m to support the programme.

Council Executive Portfolio Holder Gill Burton explained the background to the partnership:

“In common with most local authorities, the council had found it challenging to either build or enable affordable housing. With house prices beyond the pocket of many first-time buyers, families and young people were being forced to leave the district. The trend was undermining communities and shrinking the labour market for employers.

“At the same time, the number of applicants on the waiting list for social housing had soared. The council then teamed up with Your Housing Group to fund an ambitious programme of affordable housing construction. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Brian Cronin, Chief Executive of Your Housing Group, commented:

“Your Housing Group has a strong history of successful partnership working and we are extremely excited to join forces, and combine strengths, with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, for the benefit of the wider Moorlands community.”

Vicky Bodman, Area Manager for HCA, added:

"The Ascent initiative demonstrates real partnership working to address a clear need for more affordable housing in the area, and so we are pleased to support the programme."

Photo caption: District council leader Cllr Sybil Ralphs handing a bouquet of flowers to resident Michelle Ball, watched by Ascent

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