A partnership that will deliver 1,500 new homes and bring a further 1,000 back into use in Liverpool has been formally signed.
It comes as a planning application is submitted for 22 new homes on the site of the former Watergate School on Speke Road in Woolton.
Last year, the city council announced the Liverpool Housing Partnership agreement with private developer Redrow Homes, affordable housing provider Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and property contractor Wilmott Dixon to drive up the range and quality of properties in the city.
Redrow Homes and LMH will jointly build 1,500 new homes and LMH aims to bring up to 1,000 back into use as part of a £205 million investment over the next five years.
Now the deal has been officially signed by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, Assistant Mayor Cllr Ann O’Byrne, LMH Chief Executive Steve Coffey and Redrow Homes Chairman Steve Morgan.
Work has already been going on to develop a number of brownfield sites which will deliver around 200 new and refurbished properties for the first phase.
The refurbishments include Marwood Tower in Everton – which was recently granted planning permission. The rundown high rise block will be transformed into 81 apartments for over 55s in an £8 million scheme that will also include a communal courtyard garden around the base of the tower.
And the original Holly Lodge School in West Derby will become approximately 70 houses/apartments and refurbished Grade II lodges, with wildlife features preserved.
Proposals for new builds include:
• Watergate School in Woolton (site of the former Sunflower Centre) – 22 properties
• Leighton Dene Day Care Centre in Norris Green – over 20 properties for affordable rent
• Normanton Avenue in St Michael’s – around eight self-contained apartments for affordable rent.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “I am pleased we have signed a deal with two excellent housing partners, marking the start of a five year programme to deliver new and refurbished properties across the city, offering a greater range and quality of homes for our residents.
“This new partnership will play a major part in the on-going transformation of housing, and build on the fantastic momentum we’ve created in recent years. We are improving and extending the range of homes all over Liverpool, making the city more attractive as a place to live and generating additional revenue which we can use to support vital services.”
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, added: “We are working together to drive forward some really important schemes which will breathe new life into communities.
“Wherever possible we are using brownfield sites which have previously been developed to make sure we are making the most of land that has been previously used for development.”
The scheme will also include apprenticeships and job opportunities, led by the city council’s employment arm Liverpool In Work. It is also hoped that supported housing designed specifically for vulnerable people will also be developed.
Redrow’s first physical contribution to the partnership comes in the shape of the site of the former Watergate School site in Woolton. A recent public consultation event was attended by around 100 people and feedback forms completed on the day suggested that the vast majority (79%) support the principle of redeveloping this empty site for housing.
As a result of comments received at the event, Redrow has made adjustments to the proposed layout and reduced the number of planned properties from 23 to 22. These will comprise a mix of three and four-bedroom homes, all of which will be Lifetime Homes compliant; making them easily adaptable for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues in later life. A planning application has now been submitted and, subject to approval. Redrow hopes to begin building later this year.
Steve Morgan, Chairman of Redrow Homes said: “As someone who was born in Liverpool and spent my childhood growing up in the Garston area, it gives me great pleasure to be involved in a unique relationship designed to bring much needed, high quality housing to the city.
“Today marks the official start of a partnership that brings together the skills, understanding and experience of a number of organisations and, in doing so, will provide homes for all. Redrow, for its part, will be providing a wide range of executive family homes, including some high value properties designed to extend the city’s offering and boost council tax coffers.”
Chief Executive at Liverpool Mutual Homes, Steve Coffey, said: “The partnership is a real opportunity for us to tackle Liverpool’s housing needs in a holistic manner.
“Together we can build new homes while at the same time bring existing, redundant properties back into use.
“All partners offer complementary services, experience and expertise and progress is well underway.”