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London borough will use joint venture to meet housing needs

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) plans to use its housing company to enter into a joint venture with a private sector partner with the aim of building new housing on Council owned land. 07 Nov 2012

LBHF said in a statement that by entering into a joint venture rather than just selling off its land it will be able to retain greater control over the use of the land and will receive a share in the profits of any redevelopment, which is expected to exceed the capital amount it would receive if it sold the land.

LBHF intends to use the joint venture to build at least 500 homes on its land over the next five years. It hopes that many of these will be made available to those on modest and middle incomes. It is anticipated that the joint venture will have an initial lifespan of 15 years.

"Local authorities have a key role to play in unlocking new housing growth, so we’re maximising our housing land estates to provide much needed new homes and generate cash to invest in our existing stock" said councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing. “Through this joint venture we aim to ease the pressure on the hardworking strivers who are currently locked out of the local housing market. In the process we will also boost the local construction industry creating more much-needed local jobs."

LBHF has identified two development opportunities in Fulham, the Watermeadow Court Estate and Edith Summerskill House. Both sites are in need of improvement work to bring them up to standard, it said. LBHF said that it will use the profit from the joint venture to fund similar schemes in the future and reduce its housing debt of £200 million.

LBHF has identified housing affordability as a big issue, with the average home being valued at £581,000. Just over 2% of the borough's housing are low cost homes to buy.

LBHF has said that it is seeking a joint venture partner "who shares its vision and is able to demonstrate long term commitment to regeneration and high quality residential developments". The Council will be holding an informal Market Briefing Event later this month.