Grant funding agreed to help fund the purchase of 86 new affordable homes in Plymouth

A funding package totalling £7.6million will enable Plymouth Community Homes to move ahead with the purchase of 86 homes in Plymouth which will be made available for affordable rent or shared ownership by local people in housing need.

Grants provided by Homes England and Plymouth City Council will be vital in enabling the social housing association to purchase 86 three-bed homes at Hillcrest Close in Plympton, as well as 80 garages on the former Ministry of Defence (MOD) estate. 

Once the sale is complete, the properties will be refurbished by PCH as part of a £21.5 million project to provide much-needed 3-bedroom homes for Plymouth, with at least 53 made available for social rent by local people, and 20 homes will be offered for shared ownership sale through the organisation’s sales brand SO Living. The project will also provide long-term security for 12 families currently living in some of the homes, who will see their tenancies transfer to PCH after years of uncertainty.

PCH is Plymouth’s largest social housing landlord with more than 16,000 properties providing homes for more than 35,000 people across the city. Its social rents are some of the lowest in the country, and up to 50% less than the cost of renting the same property locally from a private landlord.

The estate at Hillcrest Close will now be purchased by PCH from Annington. The properties have been leased by the MOD from Annington (the freeholder) since 1996.

Of the 86 houses, a number have been empty for some time, with only 12 remaining occupied by non-MOD personnel. Aware of the situation facing these tenants, their local MP Sir Gary Streeter strongly supported the purchase by PCH, which will bring to an end years of uncertainty about the future of their tenancies. PCH will be able to offer the existing residents new, assured tenancies, giving them long-term security in their homes.

The purchase also includes a large community centre which PCH hopes to let to a local business or community group.

The purchase will be made possible thanks to grants from Homes England and Plymouth City Council totalling £7.6million towards the overall project cost, which is estimated to be £21.5 million including the purchase price for the estate, fees and refurbishment costs.

Nick Jackson, Director of Business Services and Development at Plymouth Community Homes, said: “There is a significant need for good quality, affordable social housing in the local area at present, especially for families in need of three-bed homes, with a growing number of families in the Plymouth area managing in temporary accommodation while they wait for permanent housing to become available.

“We are very grateful for the substantial grant funding agreed from Homes England and Plymouth City Council which will enable PCH to go ahead with the purchase of 86 homes on this popular residential estate.

“Once refurbished, the estate will provide a large number of spacious 3-bed homes in a sought-after location which will be made available for social rent by local families, as well as 20 for shared ownership purchase to help people onto the housing ladder. This project will go a long way in easing pressure on the numbers of local people waiting for a secure, long-term home, and breathe new life into a residential estate where many properties have sat empty for some time.”

Councillor Rebecca Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Plymouth City Council, said:“I am absolutely thrilled to be able to bring these houses back into use for people who really need them.

“This has been a colossal team effort with our local partnerships yet again bearing fruit for the residents of Plymouth.

“I can’t wait to see families in this street again, turning houses into homes and breathing life back into Hillcrest Close.”

The proposed purchase would also include a large community centre, which has potential for future development, and 80 garages, which PCH will also take over and rent out.

The three-bed homes will be refurbished and modernised by PCH, with new insultation and energy-efficient upgrades made to improve their environmental performance and help reduce energy costs for residents, before being made available for social rent by local people in housing need.

The area is already popular with families, with the estate located close to both Chaddlewood and Glen Park Primary schools, and close to other amenities in the popular Plympton area.