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Neighbouring social housing associations could team up to invest £500m in much-needed low-cost homes

22 November 2019

Two leading north Essex housing associations could combine their strengths to build thousands of much-needed affordable homes.  

Colchester-based Colne Housing and Braintree-based Greenfields Community Housing are having exploratory partnership talks.

Their shared vision is to combine their financial strengths to invest £500m in genuinely affordable homes in five years. Most will be available for people on the housing register in north Essex and Suffolk, and some will be available to buy through the Shared Ownership scheme.

The chief executives of both housing associations have written to all residents to let them know that their homes and services are not affected by the proposal and that it remains at an early stage.

Colne Housing, which builds around 150 new affordable properties a year, approached Greenfields, a well-respected Community Gateway organisation, which offers residents a share in the organisation and opportunities to shape its services from the ground up.

If they joined forces, the new organisation would be community-focused and able to offer much more to local people and strengthen the say residents have in services.

Sara Thakkar, Colne’s Chief Executive, said: “We are leading this exciting opportunity in direct response to the housing shortage as part of Colne’s ‘bigger, better, bolder’ strategy which was agreed in 2016.

“Working with Greenfields would allow us to pool our strengths so we can do more for people in desperate need of housing.

“We will be involving our residents and employees and hope to provide an update later this year.”

Emma Palmer, Greenfields’ Chief Executive, said: “There is an increasing expectation that housing associations need to deliver value for money and the best services. I’m really pleased that Greenfields and Colne are exploring ways to do just that.

“We share similar values – with customers at the heart of all we do – and our strengths would complement each other.”

The boards of Greenfields and Colne are now working to put together a formal proposal which will be considered later this year.

There are 22,000 people on the Essex housing register, 2,750 of them in Braintree district and 4,392 in the borough of Colchester.


Tradition preserved on former Tiptree jam factory site

22 November 2019

Colne Housing has continued a long-standing tradition of providing affordable homes for local people on land which was owned by jam manufacturers Wilkin and Sons in Tiptree.

Colne, the Essex-based housing association, with their development partner Iceni Homes, has built a £3.6million community of 20 homes for people who cannot afford to buy or rent privately.

Around 60 people from the Colchester area will move in to the one-, two- and three-bed maisonettes and terraced properties on the new Factory Hill site, which is part of the larger Nine Acres development being built by Crest Nicholson.

Wilkin and Sons - which sold the site a few years ago in order to generate funds to improve and expand the factory and product range – had been providing lower-cost housing for local people since 1885.

Colne’s Chief Executive Sara Thakkar said: “There is a shortage of affordable homes, particularly in rural areas, and our new development is a great example of how the local community can come together to ease the housing crisis.

“Our £3.6 million scheme will ensure that people within the borough of Colchester can afford to live locally.”

Eight properties are available under shared ownership through the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.  The remaining 12 are being made available to people on Colchester Borough Council’s housing register at an affordable rent. The keys are being handed over to the first residents later this month.

Phil Murton, the Managing Director of Iceni Homes, added: “Through our unique partnership with Colne, we are delighted to be providing these high quality homes in Tiptree.”

Chris Newenham, Joint Managing Director of Wilkin and Sons, said: “It’s great to see Colne continuing the Wilkin and Sons tradition of providing lower-cost housing for local people, something which we have been doing since the company began in 1885.

“Wilkin and Sons has always been an integral part of the local community and many of our staff live in company-owned accommodation surrounding the factory.”

Colne is a 3,000-home housing association which provides a range of housing solutions in Essex and Suffolk to enable independent living. It has a number of other affordable homes in development in Colchester, including 18 in Axial Way and 22 on Ipswich Road.

It has recently completed 35 homes in Mile End, 17 at Wyvern Farm in Stanway and eight in Bourne Court, as well as many more in surrounding locations including Braintree, Brightlingsea, Halstead, Harwich, Uttlesford and Chelmsford.


Colne Housing provides 13 much needed homes in Maldon district

22 November 2019

Residents on the Maldon housing register have moved into brand new homes in a picturesque rural location thanks to a partnership led by Colne Housing.

Around 20 people who had been in unsuitable or temporary accommodation now have a stable roof over the heads after 13 new affordable homes were built in Latchingdon, near Maldon.

The six one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom houses are situated next to fields just off Burnham Road in the village.

Two houses were available through the Help to Buy affordable home ownership scheme, which enables those struggling to own their own home get on the housing ladder with a smaller deposit, by part-renting part buying.

The development brings the total number of Colne Housing homes in the Maldon district to more than 350. The Essex-based housing association and their development partner Iceni Homes, teamed up with Maldon District Council to create the much-needed homes.

Residents joined representatives from the partner organisations and local construction company EJ Taylor for an opening celebration.

Akin Yildiz, 50, who also lives in one of the apartments, said: “I’m really happy staying here. It’s a nice road in a good area, with lovely people around me. I’m happy.”

Maldon District Council Chairman Cllr Bob Boyce MBE, who lives in Latchingdon, officiated at the ceremony.

He said: “Everyone has a right to housing which ensures access to a safe, secure, habitable, and affordable home. These much-needed homes, which have been achieved through partnership working, will provide that basic human right and help meet a gap in affordable housing provision for Latchingdon and the Maldon district.

“They provide a range of accommodation for single people, couples and families, giving local residents the opportunity to stay in their local community near to facilities such as schools and shops. I hope all of the new residents enjoy their new homes and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Colne’s Chief Executive Sara Thakkar said: “There is a shortage of affordable homes, particularly in rural areas, and our new development is a great example of how the local community can come together to ease the housing crisis.

“We have a long history of working with Maldon Council to provide affordable homes and are proud that this latest development means we now have 350 homes in the district occupied by people who cannot afford to rent or buy privately.”

The new homes, which were built on land formerly owned by Goodhares Farm, are occupied by residents with a local connection to Maldon district.

Colne is a vibrant, growing 3,000-home housing association which provides a range of housing solutions in Essex and Suffolk to enable independent living.


Colne resident urges people in housing need to apply for new affordable rent homes

21 November 2019

Colne Housing resident Michele Logson is urging people in housing need in East Suffolk to apply for brand new homes that have just been built.

Mrs Logson’s new home is part of the biggest development that housing association Colne and their development partner Iceni Homes have undertaken in the county.

They are creating 60 new homes in Melton, near Woodbridge, and residents are moving in in phases throughout 2019 and 2020. There are still homes available and Colne is encouraging people in housing need to register now. This is a major step forward for addressing homelessness in the Suffolk area.

Prior to the move, Mrs Logson, 48, struggled to afford privately rented accommodation in Wickham Market, eventually she had to move to temporary accommodation.

With her teenage daughter, this was a tough situation for Mrs Logson. She feared that she “wouldn’t be in with a chance of getting a home in Melton” and could not believe it when her application was successful.

She emphasised how the Colne team were helpful and reassuring, adding: “I feel more secure, I know that the home is ours now.

There is more stability for us here”.

Mrs Logson is not the only resident embracing life in Melton. She described how she had already met her new neighbours and formed a sense of community.

She said: “Everyone is really nice and friendly. We are near to Woodbridge but just far enough out of town”.

Mrs Logson is positive about the future and pleased that her daughter can now settle in one place. She is passionate that others should apply for the new homes to see if they too can benefit from this development.

Colne’s Chief Executive, Sara Thakkar, said: “Melton is a beautiful village and we believe that it is critical that local people and their families have access to affordable homes in rural locations such as this.

This is our largest development in Suffolk and we are optimistic about the difference this will make.”

Colne encourages other people to register with Gateway to Homechoice to discover if they too could be eligible for a new property in Melton, near Woodbridge: www.gatewaytohomechoice.org.uk

Colne manage over 3,000 homes across Essex and Suffolk, with enabling independent living at the forefront of their strategy.


Colne provides affordable home ownership opportunities in Brighlingsea

10 July 2017

Colne Housing is building eleven brand new modern homes in Brightlingsea for local people who want to get on the property ladder or need an affordable rent. There will be a range of two and three-bed properties available from September at Brian House Court, off Robinson Road. Three of these are being marketed for shared ownership under the Help to Buy scheme.

Colne’s Chief Executive Sara Thakkar said:

“There remains a huge demand for affordable housing in north Essex. Colne is pleased to be able to offer both homes to buy and rent on this new site in Brightlingsea.”

The rented properties will be allocated to those in most need on the Tendring District Council housing register. The shared ownership properties are available for part buy, part rent from around £66,000 on www.helptobuyese.org.uk. Colne, with its development partner Iceni Homes, aims to build 150 affordable houses or apartments in Essex or Suffolk each year.

The Colchester-based housing association has just completed more shared ownership homes at Marconi, Chelmsford. In addition, work is well under way on the construction of seven apartments and houses on the Mersea Homes development in Mile End, which will be available at affordable rents. Colne aims to build 700 new homes over the next five years.

Helen Portch, of Colne Housing, is shown around the the new homes under construction in Brightlingsea by a builder for the Anderson Group.

Helen Portch, of Colne Housing, visits the new affordable homes being built in Brightlingsea.


Colne offers another 50 affordable homes in Colchester

29 April 2017

More than 50 modern new homes for people who cannot afford to buy or rent privately are currently being built in Colchester by Colne

The Colchester-based housing association is committed to playing its part in solving  Essex’s housing shortage by providing homes at affordable rents or for shared ownership, to enable people to live independently.


Work underway on affordable homes in Halsted

28 April 2017

Work has begun on the £2.9 million development of 22 properties in Halstead which will be available at affordable rents to local people unable to buy or rent privately.

Colne, an Essex-based housing association, is funding the development of a range of homes in different styles and sizes.

Among them are one and two-bedroom apartments, terraced houses and semis, as well as one three-bedroom detached bungalow. The homes will be allocated to people on Braintree District Council’s housing register.

To read the full article please click here.

Colne provides affordable homes in Felsted

28 April 2017

A number of new affordable homes are being constructed in Felsted as part of Colne housing association’s commitment towards helping solve the local housing crisis.

The 11 homes include a two-bedroom detached bungalow and 10 two- and three-bedroom semis, of which three are currently being offered for shared ownership. The others are available at affordable rents to people on Uttlesford District Council’s housing register. This is the first Colne development in Felsted following the building of new homes in Great Chesterford in 2015.

The properties are on the Cromwell Place development, on the edge of Felsted towards Little Dunmow, where a total of 40 homes are being constructed.

Colne’s properties, being developed in partnership with Iceni Homes, and residents are due to move in early 2017.

Colne’s Chief Executive Sara Thakkar said: “It is really important that affordable properties are available in rural communities, as well as town centres.

“These lovely new homes are among 700 we are building over the next five years as we strive towards creating more homes that people can afford at a time of spiralling house prices.”

Colne manages over 3,000 homes across Essex and Suffolk and specialises in enabling independent living.


Colne offers affordable homes in Chelmsford

25 March 2015

Colne, the Essex based housing association, is building over 100 new properties on the old Marconi site in Chelmsford for shared ownership and affordable rent.

Aptly named ‘The Switch’, the new site offers a fantastic, affordable opportunity to buy a brand new apartment, within the prestigious Marconi development, situated in the heart of the City. The contemporary shared ownership homes will be available to purchase from just a 35% share, with an option to own up to 100% - meaning home ownership can be a reality.

The mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments provides great choice for first time buyers, singles, couples and small families alike. The properties are located in an excellent position and are walking distance from the train and bus stations, Anglia Ruskin University, leisure facilities and the City Centre, offering the very best of urban living. 

Mark Powell Davies, Chief Executive Colne, commented

“There is a very real need for affordable homes in this region and we are really delighted that we are able to offer such fantastic apartments at an affordable price.

We have worked hard with Bellway Homes and Chelmsford County Council to ensure we provide the right mix of homes to the people of Chelmsford. Statistics show there’s a huge need for quality, affordable apartments in the City and this is what we believe the Switch delivers.”


Homefocus focusing on the Switch

22 March 2015

Colne Housing is offering shared ownership on homes on the former Marconi 'birthplace of radio' site in Chelmsford City centre. And two bedroom apartments are available to reserve off plan now.

Aptly named 'The Switch', this development has been priced to encourage an affordable opportunity to switch from renting to buying a brand new apartment. Suitable for first time buyers, singles, couples and small families, residents will have access to a state of the art gym and concierge service.

The generous sized apartments, which will be finished in the Spring, offer comfort and contempory fittings. All come with fitted carpets to the bedrooms and vinyl flooring to the kitchen, living areas, bathroom and entrance hall.

High quality fitted kitchens and worktops haven been chosen and designed to make the best use of space. Allocated parking, cycle sheds and recycling facilities for all homes comes as standard.

The next phase in 2017 will bring a mix of one, two and three bed apartments, providing even greater choice. The Switch is in the heart of Chelmsford, within walking distance of the train and bus stations, Anglia Ruskin University, leisure and shopping facilities.

To be eligible for these properties you need to be living or working in Chelmsford.