Woking Borough Council
Civic OfficesGloucester SquareWokingSurreyGU21 6YL
Telephone: 01483 755855
Construction is now well under way to build 224 affordable rented homes and 147 homes for private sale on the 9.5ha Priority Homes development site north of Moor Lane in Westfield. In November 2013 a consortium, made up of Kier and Thames Valley Housing, signed a contract with Woking Borough Council to deliver the mixed-tenure housing development on the greenfield site. Having been selected as the Councils preferred bidder for the project in November 2012, the consortium, known as Evolution, applied for and successfully achieved planning consent for the development, a prerequisite for the design, build, manage and maintain contract to be signed. Evolution has chosen to call the site Kingsmoor Park.
Although Woking Borough Council continues to monitor the progress of Kingsmoor Park, Evolution is responsible for resident and community liaison. Thames Valley Housing and Kier have launched the website, www.kingsmoorpark.com dedicated to this project containing the latest information and updates about the development. Evolution will also be producing resident newsletters at appropriate stages during the development. Kier is now responsible for all activities on the site during this construction phase.
During the construction phase the points of contact are:
Kier Partnership Homes for all construction and site related issues and community meetings:
Chris Ott (located on site)
Thames Valley Housing for community initiatives, general enquiries, information for the website, newsletters:
020 8607 0563
The 224 affordable rented homes will be built on Kingsmoor Park by Kier and then be managed and maintained by Thames Valley Housing over a 25-year term. Spread over the 25 years, the Council will receive monthly (PFI Credit) payments of government grant from the Homes & Communities Agency. Dependent on the consortium achieving standards specified in the contract, the Council will make monthly payments to the consortium made up of the government subsidy plus a Council contribution; if the required standards are not achieved, the payments to the consortium will be subject to deductions.
Completion of the first affordable homes is expected to be in early 2015. The rest of the homes will then be completed in a steady stream over the subsequent two years. The first sales of the private sale homes are expected to be in autumn 2014
The 224 predominantly family homes will be let at affordable rents to applicants on the Councils Housing Register and will be allocated through the Councils Choice Based Lettings Scheme, Hometrak. Those wishing to be considered should apply on the Councils website at Woking Housing Options and complete the options wizard on-line form.
Once nearer completion, the rented homes at Kingsmoor Park will be advertised through Hometrak. However, although tenants will be allocated to these properties through the Councils scheme, the tenants of these new homes will be Thames Valley Housing tenants, not Council tenants. Tenants will not be able to buy these homes and therefore the homes will remain as affordable housing in the Borough.
The remainder of the Priority Homes web pages are intended to give a little of the background as to why the Council chose to go down the PFI route.
Providing affordable housing has long been one of Woking Borough Council's highest priorities and 'Priority Homes - Putting Affordable Housing First' was set up with the intention to help meet this need through the procurement of a Housing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract.
A Private Finance Initiative or PFI is one form of public private partnership that is used for public sector projects that require a lot of money. PFI has been used for many years to successfully build new schools, roads, prisons and hospitals. Since 1999, PFI has enabled councils to secure a large amount of private money which can be used to build new homes or improve existing ones. This is called Housing PFI.
PFI is a government programme to bring private investment into social housing by allowing local authorities to work with a partnership or consortium of specialist organisations including a builder, a registered social provider, and a funder to build new homes or improve properties already owned by the Council.
A PFI project can be good for a local authority because it means that a council can make use of their partners' areas of expertise, such as building homes or raising money. The risk involved in building and financing new homes within budget and on time is taken by the contractor. Monthly payments are paid to the contractor only once the homes are available to let. If a project does not meet the standards, the contractor does not get the full payment agreed.
During the process the Council was able to justify to the Government department that the PFI route was the best way to provide 224 affordable rented homes in the Borough and that there was no better or cheaper way of providing these much needed homes for local families.
By taking the Private Finance Initiative route, the Council has enabled the delivery of a step-change in the provision of affordable housing within the Borough, while contributing significantly towards the requirements set out in the Councils Core Strategy.
If you have any comments regarding the Priority Homes project please contact us:
Woking Borough Council
Phone: 01483 755855
The following links to external websites may be of interest to you.