By Dave Lakin, Director of Development & Commercial
10 March 2022
Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, we’re on track for our most successful year ever at Grand Union. By April 2022, we expect to have built a record 330 homes – the first time we’ve ever reached more than 300 a year in our history.
This will include 53 properties available for social rent, which is part of our strategy to deliver more of these types of homes. In total, we will have built more social rent homes this year alone than in the last 10 years!
Our achievements come as the National Housing Federation estimates that 340,000 homes need to be built every year to meet the ever-increasing need. The Chartered Institute of Housing has calculated that at least 90,000 of these homes need to be at genuinely affordable social rent.
We’ve also seen a huge demand for shared ownership properties. In this financial year alone, we’ve already sold more than 95 shared ownership homes. We had hundreds of people express interest in our shared ownership properties just a week after launching new developments at Bidwell and Ivel Road in Bedfordshire.
It’s also been a privilege to collaborate with smaller, local partners on a number of projects. We currently work with more than 30 local authorities, and we also have key partnerships with suppliers, developers and colleagues across the social housing sector. Organisations choose to work with us because they trust us to share our expertise and help them to get things right.
We’re working with Northamptonshire Rural Housing Association on two sites, Lilbourne in Daventry and Addington in Kettering. Most of these properties will be available for social rent – once again showing our commitment to this tenure type and helping individuals afford to live in rural areas. It’s great to share our resources with Northamptonshire Rural which, as a small organisation, is part of our consortium and we often apply for grants on its behalf.
Alongside our current projects, we have a strong focus on the future, particularly on our commitment to become net carbon zero by 2050. At Grand Union, as part of our mission to build more homes, stronger communities and better lives, we know that we have a responsibility to make a positive impact on the environment.
We’ve just begun work on our first ever carbon neutral development, Wood Burcote House in Towcester, which is the site of our old office. For all properties at Wood Burcote House, heat will be provided by a communal Air Source Heat Pump (which converts energy which it absorbs from outside into usable heat for the home) instead of gas. Less heat will escape due to better insulation materials. Moreover, there will be PV solar panels on the rooves of these homes and charging points for electric cars.
We hope that Wood Burcote House will pave the way for other carbon neutral developments, addressing both the issues of climate change and the UK housing crisis. We also can’t wait to see what next year has to hold, after the successes of 2021/22!