Silva Homes moves “ahead of the curve” to tackle housing crisis

Image credit: iurii/Shutterstock

Silva Homes says it has committed to exploring a new way of meeting the growing demand for affordable homes in the Thames Valley area.

The housing association has marked its intention to independently develop new homes that help people get a foot on the housing ladder in Bracknell through the construction of nine new homes.

The scheme is being developed with construction partner RJ Leighfield & Sons in Rowley Close, on the site of former independent living scheme Dennis Pilcher House.

The new homes will be available for sale as affordable housing through the shared ownership scheme, which Silva says will help people on lower incomes to become homeowners.

Silva, which is based in Bracknell, says it is taking steps to create more affordable homes ahead of a shake-up of the planning system, which will see a new Infrastructure Levy replace the traditional way affordable housing programmes have been delivered through section 106 planning.

National Housing Federation External Affairs manager for the South East of England, Eve McMahon, said: “These are increasingly difficult times for people seeking affordable homes and it is vital that housing associations remain ahead of the curve.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the need for affordable new housing in the Thames Valley area, and Silva has responded by being more innovative than ever, for the sake of its customers.

“This new development is a small but important step in a new direction for Silva Homes.”

The rules that govern this area of the housing market could soon change, as proposals in a planning White Paper begin their journey through Parliament.

According to the paper, the government’s new consolidated Infrastructure Levy – which would replace Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy – will aim to deliver “at least as much, if not more, on-site affordable housing”.

But the National Housing Federation has suggested that the proposals, which could see an increase to the threshold at which developers must contribute to affordable housing from 10- to 40- or 50-home developments, would create a “significant reduction” in the supply of new affordable homes.

Now, amid the uncertainty, Silva Homes says it is seizing the initiative on affordable housing, as the sector awaits policy changes.

Silva Homes’s executive director of Assets and Growth, Laura Johnson (pictured), added: “Under the Section 106 arrangements, we create strong partnerships with developers, but it is only right that we explore new options.

“Diversifying our approach to building affordable homes represents an exciting new phase in our growth, because it gives us more flexibility and freedom.

“Our new homes will be great places people love to live in and take pride in. At Silva Homes, there is a determination to put people first, by helping to provide affordable housing for sale and rent, which helps make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Main image: iurii/Shutterstock

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