A practical attitude to partnership brought triumphant results from Midas Homes and Devon & Cornwall Housing Association, who won this award
Midas had a somewhat unconventional role in this scheme to build 455 houses for Devon & Cornwall Housing Association: that of fairy godmother. It took care of all the complex procedures that have to be undertaken to get developments of this size off the ground, including land assembly and purchase, and negotiations with planners over the design and the Section 106 agreements. The result was little short of a triumph. The judges commented that: “This seems to be a practical partnership that is producing excellent work on different types of sites.” They also applauded the way Midas had used renewable energy on the 35-unit South Molton development in North Devon, had pioneered the use of “homezones” to give pedestrian priority over cars and combined vernacular with modern styling.
Berkeley Homes with London Development Agency and Southern Housing Group
Berkeley Homes’ Royal Arsenal development has become something of an exemplary regeneration scheme. This is partly because of its sheer size – there are more than 1223 dwellings in the first phase alone – and partly because of the way that it has transformed a derelict site in a rundown area into a lively urban quarter, complete with desirable homes and improved transport links. And as well as providing the infrastructure for economic renewal, the scheme is actually helping with the renewal itself, thanks to the long-term jobs that it has created in the area – ultimately replacing those lost when the arsenal closed down. In all, Berkeley estimate that the value of the development to the local area through planning gain is more than £2m, the money being spent on local education, culture and transport. Expect to see further phases cropping up in awards ceremonies in the future.
WIDacre homes with Circle Anglia
This entry reached the shortlist for the way it has rethought the traditional relationship between the housebuilder and the registered social landlord. The RSL in question is Circle Anglia, which has joined with Willmott Dixon’s Widacre Homes subsidiary to create a joint-venture developer. Each has equal ownership of the completed schemes, and each is well positioned to contribute its particular expertise to planning, building and operating the final development. Circle Anglia gets income from the sale of private houses, which it can then use to cross-subsidise other activities, and it makes the whole process of building in London, with its stringent rules on affordable housing, much easier for Willmott Dixon. This is, as they say, a win-win situation.
The Building Communties awards 2005
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Best public-private partnership: Winner Midas Homes/Devon & Cornwall HA