Plymouth City Council: 'Plan for homes'

Plymouth City Council’s (PCC) Plan for Homes has taken a proactive and collaborative approach to delivering 5,000 homes in the city.

The £80 million programme identified 16 initiatives aimed at maximising investment in infrastructure and making land and finance available to accelerate delivery in the city.

The council has released 33 sites and over 138 acres of land to deliver 1,649 homes, of which 831 (51 per cent) are affordable. For each of these sites, the council produced a site planning statement to guide developers and encourage innovation. The council has worked closely with its successful development partners to encourage meaningful public consultation, secure planning permissions, secure or provide funding and remove barriers to delivery.

The council worked in partnership with a local registered provider, Aster Homes, to deliver a £5.5 million extra care scheme providing 40 affordable housing units on the site of a derelict community centre. The council sold the site to Aster Homes and provided £700,000 of grant to help bridge the cost of the development, which also received a Homes England (formerly known as the Homes and Communities Agency) grant.

The Plan for Homes created a £30 million land acquisition fund and to date, three sites have been acquired and cleared to accelerate and de-risk development. These sites will deliver in the region of 450 homes.

Our award winning Plan for Homes has been and continues to be, a hugely successful programme that is well on track for delivering its ambitious 5,000 home target. Its success has been down to a number of factors including strong cross-party political support, outstanding partnership working and the plan’s innovative solutions to unblocking a range of planning issues, supporting the council’s overarching aim to be “one of Europe’s most vibrant waterfront cities where an outstanding quality of life is enjoyed by everyone.

Paul Barnard, Assistant Director for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure, Plymouth City Council

Furthermore, the Plan for Homes has proactively targeted stalled housing sites in the city. PCC has maintained a regular dialogue with the owners of all stalled housing sites to identify and overcome obstacles, identify funding opportunities and to put landowners in touch with developers and housing associations.

In partnership with PCC, the Guinness Partnership recently completed a 56 unit affordable housing scheme at Stonehouse Arena, Harwell Street. The site, a former railway siding and sports ground, had been disused since 2002 and frequently attracted antisocial behaviour and fly-tipping.

The £8 million scheme, which benefited from £80,000 of PCC section 106 contributions, has delivered 46 affordable rented and 10 shared ownership homes and it has helped to regenerate the local area. Charles Layiwola, Project Delivery Manager for the Guinness Partnership said: “Stonehouse Arena has been a challenging site to bring back into use, particularly as a wholly affordable scheme. The final design needed to address problematic ground levels and conditions, whilst meeting significant energy efficiency requirements and high design aspirations. We are grateful for the support of both Homes England and Plymouth City Council, which were critical to unlocking the site’s full potential.”