Plans for the largest ever commercial development led by a housing association are being drawn up for the city of Bath.
South West-based housing and care provider Curo is in the process of putting together a masterplan to develop 1,100 homes, retail space and community facilities across 60 acres on the southern slopes of the famous city.
The development will offer a range of high-quality homes for sale on the open market as well as a 35% affordable housing provision.
Curo, a not-for-profit organisation, acquired the former MoD site at Foxhill, Bath, in competition with a number of commercial developers in 2013. The 47-acre brownfield site sits alongside a 22-acre area of housing estate on which Curo has 75% ownership.
In addition to 700 new-build properties, a further 400 existing homes will be redeveloped.
Curo chief executive Victor da Cunha, said:
“Curo seized this once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop much-needed new homes and regenerate an area of Bath that has, historically, suffered from under-investment.
“This development allows us to create new revenue streams to cross-subsidise our core purpose, the provision of affordable homes for local families. We now have the skills, the capacity and the vision to deliver this ambitious landmark scheme”.
Curo has recently established a new commercial division, Curo Homes, headed up by Managing Director, Gerraint Oakley.
Oakley, who has previously worked at David Wilson Homes and Barratt, said:
“This approach puts us in control of the development of our own homes and allows us to build high quality homes at the right price and the right time.”
Curo Homes will develop homes for sale, shared ownership and rent. Profits from this, and other commercial activities, will be reinvested in more affordable homes and local communities.
Curo operates in one of the toughest housing markets in the UK. Bath was ranked the 4th least affordable place to live in the UK in a 2014 study by Lloyds Bank, with average house prices in the area 14.5 times average earnings.
Rising rents and house prices and a historic under-supply of all housing in the area has exacerbated the situation.
Victor da Cunha said:
“Unlike many commercial developers we are long term investors in the neighbourhoods in which we develop, continuing to own a significant proportion of the homes we build.”
“We want to generate profits through commercial activity like this to pour back into our social purpose – securing the long term future for our organisation and our customers.”
Curo is currently working with masterplanning architects HTA Design and members of the local community to develop plans for the scheme and intends to build the first new homes in 2016.