HCLT were guests of Connexus for an Information and Training Session held on 28th January. The meeting was exceptionally well attended with 28 participants who heard presentations from three speakers.
Simon Withers, Development Manager responsible for a team that oversees the planning and development of Hereford gave a presentation on the planning process. He talked through the 3 layers of planning policy from the national framework to the local development plan and gave it context through the volume of work that the department does. His presentation can be accessed here: Planning HCLT meeting Jan 2020
Vicki Tomlinson, Director of Development gave an overview of Connexus’s activities as a major affordable housing provider in Shropshire and Herefordshire. Connexus is committed to providing affordable, high quality housing to all tenants and, as a not for profit organisation, invests profits back into the business. As a provider of affordable housing, loosely defined as approx. 80% of market rents, it does not compete with CLTs whose target market is to rent at social rent levels, approx. 60% of market rents. As a significant builder – 350 units under construction, Connexus can offer services to CLTs including site finding; project management; bidding for grant funding; procurement and contract management. More details see link: Connexus HCLT meeting Jan 2020
Andy Johnson of HCLT completed the formal presentations with an overview of a financial modelling package for housing projects, illustrating the sensitivity to interest rates, rent inflation, building costs and funding sources. The model can be accessed here: Financial Model HCLT meeting Jan 2020 Andy also gave an outline of the seven potential sites in Hereford, five on council owned land, one privately owned and one on land owned by Connexus. HCLT had hoped to be in a position to approach the Planning Department for pre-planning advice (to be provided free of charge) during early January but this now likely to be mid-February. For those sites that pre planning advice suggests we have the basis of a scheme that is acceptable to planners, HCLT will launch a series of public consultations. As a community led organisation we will make every effort to involve all stakeholders in the planning, design, financing, construction and eventual letting of properties.
A huge vote of thanks to our speakers for their presentations and in addition to Vicki, whose organisational and guiding skills were very much appreciated. HCLT would also like to thank those members who attended – we are by definition led by you so please do give us feedback.