Norwich City Council: Meeting the deadline for new affordable homes

This case study outlines how it built enhanced design and quality standards into the process.


Partnership Working

In 2009 Norwich City Council entered into an agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency to form the ‘Norwich and Homes and Communities Agency Strategic Partnership (NAHCASP)'.

One of the obligations upon the council was to accelerate delivery of affordable housing by achieving a start on site of at least 100 affordable dwellings by 31 March 2011.

In September 2010 the partnership procured Orwell Housing Association working with the Davis Langdon as employer's agents / project managers and ISG Jackson as the main contractor to help deliver 108 new affordable homes on 18 small housing sites across the city.

The sites identified were all brown field sites with the majority providing garages or car parking to local residents.

An Affordable Housing Grant was provided to Orwell Housing Association in 2010/11 at a rate to enable £500,000 capital receipt to the Council to be added to the NAHCASP funds. The Small Housing Sites project was managed through the partnership boards.

In order to maximise the opportunities for local employment there was a target that 10 per cent of the construction jobs working on this project would be taken up by new labour market entrants. The partnership laid out enhanced design and quality standards for the project with an aim that all of the units would meet lifetime homes, code for sustainable homes level 4 and a building for life score of 14 or more. The partnership agreement objective to accelerate the delivery of affordable homes was achieved by setting a deadline for all sites to be contractually on side by 31st March 2011.

Outcome and impact

In all 108 new affordable homes were approved via planning committee. To date, 105 dwellings have been completed; with the remaining three due to for completion by the end of the financial year.

The regeneration benefits to residents and the local area are:

  • New homes for residents in the housing waiting list.
  • All of the units meet lifetime homes, code for sustainable homes level 4 and a building for life score of 14 or more.
  • The project has improved derelict sites or eyesore sites and dealt with areas where there have been problems of anti-social behaviour
  • Eight jobs provided for local people who were new labour market entrants- see employment and skills project below.

Contact

Gwyn Jones:  GwynJones@norwich.gov.uk