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Medway leading way with ambitious housing efforts to tackle shortage

News   •   Feb 17, 2017 16:35 GMT

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell visits three sites in Kent and Essex to acknowledge strong efforts to fix housing market.

Medway is “leading the way” to fix the housing market, with a visit from Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell following the publication of the housing white paper.

The Minister visited three sites across Kent and Essex, which demonstrate the diversity of the measures set out, and the potential to deliver a housing market that works for everyone.

The four measures recognised in the White Paper, which were planning more homes in the right places, building homes we need, diversifying the market and helping people now, were all reflected well in Kent and Essex.

The minister opened a new affordable homes development in Gillingham, built on the former site of Gillingham Community College, comprised of 32 one to two bedroom bungalows for social rent. The £8.5M development is one of the largest council-built, energy efficient bungalow sites in the UK.

The bungalows have been specifically designed to suit the needs of older tenants and those with mobility problems in mind, those looking to downsize and people who struggle in their current living accommodation.

The minister also saw a new housing development at Kitchener Barracks, one of the largest new developments of carbon-zero homes in the country, awarded £14.4M by the Homes and Communities Agency through the Home Building Fund to boost construction on the site.

Latis, an SME housebuilder is building 300 new homes as part of a flagship gated eco-community on public sector land, formally owned by the Ministry of Defence, thanks to funding from the government.

The development will include 94 new build homes and 101 new build apartments, as well as 72 conversion flats in the historic barracks building at the centre of the site.

Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell said: “It has been a great opportunity to visit 3 exciting developments across the South East of England today, showcasing the range and diversity of our housing ambitions as set out in our housing white paper.

“From seeing a better choice of accommodation for older people in Gillingham, to the re-development of public sector land in Chatham by an ambitious SME housebuilder, and witnessing the expansion of infrastructure in Tilbury. All of these sites reflect the key priorities for this government and these developers are leading the way in efforts to fix our broken housing market and ensure this is a country that works for everyone.”

Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) General Manager for the South East, Paul Kitson said: “I am delighted that the HCA has been able to support Latis in developing this landmark site, just 40 minutes from central London by train. This will provide much-needed homes that otherwise might not have happened, and is part of the HCA’s ongoing commitment to the Medway area.

Medway Council Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Howard Doe said: “We are very proud of Centenary Gardens and we were very pleased to welcome the minister to officially open the new-build development, which is one of the largest council-built energy efficient bungalow sites in the UK.

“This new development of 32 affordable homes caters especially for those who are less-mobile and some have been specially designed for wheelchair users. These council homes follow on from the success of phase one of this multi-million pound project which saw the creation of 26 homes on former garage sites.

“The aim of this housing project was to offer people the chance to rent good quality, energy-efficient homes that they can afford, and it’s safe to say we have achieved this.”

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