This partnership will accelerate the delivery of affordable homes for local people in Gravesend and the surrounding area.
The Gravesham Community Investment Partnership (GCIP) will identify locations and develop suitable sites for new council-owned homes, in a bid to help reduce the number of households on the borough’s Housing Register, which currently stands at more than 1,000.
Councillor John Burden, Leader of Gravesham Borough Council, said “We have long-held ambitions to build hundreds of new council homes, in order to provide real social housing for those with demonstrable roots in Gravesham, thus reducing the number of people on our Housing Register.
However, we are a local council, and while we have succeeded in directly developing 200 new council-owned homes in the past four years, we recognise our limitations and the fact that bringing a specialist private sector housebuilder with investment, commercial, and financial expertise on board will greatly accelerate the progress we want to achieve.
Hill has already produced results through similar partnerships with local authorities across the UK, including Cambridge City Council, and I have no doubt they are the right partner for this important programme. I really must emphasise; this is primarily about building new council homes for local people who need them the most.”
The Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), an equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and Hill – the same model being adopted in Gravesham – was founded in 2017 to help address the housing shortage across Cambridge.
CIP is already on-site building over 700 new council homes, has completed eight developments, and is working to deliver a minimum of 1,700 new homes, including 1,000 council homes, over the next 10 years. The Partnership is delivering the City’s first Passivhaus-accredited council homes, a standard that follows rigorous construction methods and delivers the highest levels of energy efficiency and airtightness.
Andy Hill, Group Chief Executive of The Hill Group, said: “We are proud to have formed an Investment Partnership with Gravesham Borough Council and are looking forward to working closely together to expand the delivery of affordable homes for local communities in the area. Work now begins to identify suitable sites where we can apply our significant experience and expertise for the swift delivery of much-needed new homes for Gravesham.”
Councillor Jenny Wallace, Gravesham Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing Services, said: “The current cost of living crisis is hitting local people hard. Many are finding that for the first time in their lives, they can no longer afford to live in their own homes, and we have more than 200 households in temporary accommodation. This is an all-time high for Gravesham, which has cost us more than £1mn in the last financial year.”
Recognising the need to tackle homelessness in the borough, Hill is donating eight purpose-built SoloHaus homes to the Council. Created to provide safe, secure, and quality accommodation for the most vulnerable people in society, these modular homes will be donated as a part of Hill’s Foundation 200 initiative. Launched to mark Hill’s 20th anniversary, Foundation 200 is a £15mn pledge to design and donate 200 modular homes to local authorities and homelessness charities by 2025.
“We are so grateful to Hill for their generous offer to donate these modular homes that will help prevent people from becoming homeless. We are currently identifying suitable council-owned land where we can install them and are working to have them in use as quickly as we possibly can,” said Councillor Wallace.
Andy continues: “We are also delighted to further the partnership by donating the first purpose-built modular homes in Gravesham, reflecting our commitment toward making a positive social impact in the areas in which we work.
We designed SoloHaus to aid vulnerable individuals with nowhere to call home, and I am confident that once this scheme has been delivered, these innovative modular homes will have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in the area, for many years to come.”
Gravesham Borough Council is now working to identify suitable Council-owned land within the Borough to situate the SoloHaus homes.