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3rd April 2003
Leicester's Housing Associations & Regeneration Company Clear the Air

Issued jointly by the Leicester Regeneration Company (LRC) and the Leicester Housing Associations Liaison Group (LHALG)

Following recent media debate regarding a so-called “ban” on affordable housing in the Leicester Regeneration Company (LRC) area of central Leicester, representatives of local housing associations met John Nicholls, Chief Executive of the LRC on Friday 28th March.

During the meeting, Mr Nicholls explained the LRC Masterplan to the representatives of Leicester Housing Associations Liaison Group (LHALG) and confirmed that, contrary to press reports, it did include the objective of creating a balanced city centre residential community. This community will include elements of new social and affordable housing alongside apartments for market renting or sale and family housing for owner occupation.

The Housing Association representatives, co-ordinated by Harry Perry of Leicester Newarke HA, expressed their approval for the balanced community objective and stressed their track-record in sustainable housing and social regeneration. They expressed their readiness to help deliver the LRC’s housing strategy across a wide range of tenures, prices and types of accommodation. Associations said they could do this in partnership with private developers, in alliance among themselves or acting individually.

Mr Nicholls welcomed the offer and confirmed that associations would be among those invited to propose schemes for sites as the land assembly process gathered pace. He expressed a desire to make use of associations’ expertise and invited them to nominate individuals for the LRC board’s steering group on the “new community” element and for the officer level working party actually managing its delivery.

The S.106 Moratorium
Mr Nicholls explained that the LRC’s support for Leicester planners’ current moratorium on S.106 requirements within its area had been intended to help raise outturn property values to a level at which potential profits would provide the necessary level of cross-subsidy for affordable housing. Research jointly commissioned with city planners and the housing department was now being undertaken to ascertain the impact of the moratorium and a decision will then be taken about extending it beyond September.

The HA representatives believed the moratorium should be ended as it was difficult to see how the Masterplan objective of a balanced new community could be achieved with it still in place – unless HAs were invited to deliver the whole range of provision.

The participants debated whether the City’s 30% target for affordable housing within private developments was too demanding, especially taken alongside other S.106 requirements. Specific project constraints meant that the target was, in any case, rarely met. The participants acknowledged that a lower target could allay the anxieties of developers while still making some contribution to the Masterplan objective of a balanced community. “Community lettings” policies could also help deliver the objective within the affordable housing.

The proposed new nightshelter
On a side issue, Mr Nicholls reported that the LRC’s concerns about the location of a proposed new nightshelter were based entirely on it being in an area identified within the Masterplan as part of the enhanced “retail circuit”, where LRC would prefer uses which would help to add life and vitality. Having visited the present Nightshelter he expressed his very positive impressions of its management and agreed with the housing department that it needed to move to more suitable premises.

Everyone attending the meeting agreed it had been extremely useful in finding common ground for a partnership between affordable housing providers and the LRC in delivering the “new community” element of the LRC’s Masterplan.

LRC representative: John Nicholls, Chief Executive
Leicester Housing Association Liaison Group (LHALG) representatives:
Pat Elderfield, Chief Executive, East Midlands HA (PE)
Corey Henry, Operations Manager, Riverside HA East Midlands (CH)
Gary Kirk, Asst. Director (New Initiatives), Leicester HA (GK)
Harry Perry, Chief Executive, Leicester Newarke HA (HP)
Colin Towell, Director, Foundation HA (CT)
Further information available from:
Harry Perry, Leicester Newarke HA,
John Nicholls, Leicester Regeneration Company,


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