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16th October 2003
LRC Welcomes New Affordable Housing Policy

The Leicester Regeneration Company (LRC) has welcomed the City Council’s new policy on affordable housing within its area.

Throughout Leicester the Council requires that 30% of all new housing projects be ‘affordable’. But because of fears this would stifle the emerging housing market within central Leicester, the Council previously agreed to a moratorium on this requirement within key parts of LRC’s area for a fixed period expiring this month.

LRC Chief Executive, John Nicholls commented: “We are very concerned the moratorium would come to an end and we would simply revert to a stark ‘30% or nothing’ policy. This would have seriously affected the growing confidence in the housing market in our area. So we are delighted that the moratorium will be replaced by a new and more realistic requirement. We fully share the Council’s ambition to have a wider range of tenure and affordability in our area and our negotiations have been about how, not whether that should be achieved.”

The overall target for the LRC area remains at 30% affordable housing in new developments, but the Council will now assist developers to work with registered social landlords to achieve this and crucially will support applications to the Housing Corporation for grant aid for half the affordable element within their schemes. The Regional Housing Board’s published strategy contains a specific policy that Housing Corporation investment in the LRC area should be one of its regional priorities, suggesting that this aid will be forthcoming.

LRC consultants are currently preparing a series of detailed development frameworks for each of the five major projects in the company’s area and these will be ready early next year. The Council has agreed to further discussions at that time to consider varying the affordable housing requirements within each project, depending on market profile and other s106 requirements, within an overall target of 30%.

John Nicholls continued: “Until now, the moratorium was temporary and covered only a few parts of our area. The rest of it was subject to the full 30% requirement. Now, the whole LRC area benefits from a long term and much more realistic policy – in effect, the cost to developers is about halved, putting us on an even footing with similar cities. And yet our shared ambition for a real affordable component in our new housing remains achievable. I think the Council, the city’s Housing Associations, and the Housing Corporation deserve great credit for this.”

The LRC was set up in 2001, and is a not for profit partnership between the public sector, private sector and the wider community. Their aim is to improve the physical image and environment of the city and further its economic prosperity. Following an ongoing public consultation programme in 2002, the LRC launched a Masterplan, which is a framework for redevelopment in the city centre around the ring road and along the Grand Union Canal/River Soar for the next ten to fifteen years. The masterplan encompasses five important projects: Prime Office Core, Science and Technology Park, Retail Circuit, New Community and Waterside. Visit leicesterregeneration.co.uk for more LRC information.


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