Published On: Wed, May 28th, 2014

Curo developing largest HA scheme in UK

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Curo_artists_impression2014[2]Curo is developing what is thought to be the largest commercial scheme in the UK being led by a housing association.  The Bath-based social housing and support organisation plans 700 new homes, and the regeneration of up to 400 existing homes, creating up to 1,100 new homes, retail and community facilities across over 60 acres on the southern slopes of the World Heritage 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.

“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,” said Victor da Cunha, Chief Executive of Curo.  “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.

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