A consortium led by contractor Gleeson and architect PRP has been appointed preferred bidder on the first of the government's Pathfinder PFI housing schemes.
The first wave of refurbishment and maintenance projects will be worth £450m over 25 years.

They have been dogged by delay and councils' complaints of underfunding, but the £86m Plymouth Grove scheme in Manchester for 1250 homes has been given the go-ahead. Public consultation begins this month.

The scheme has yet to secure the additional government funding it requires, but sources close to the scheme say the DTLR is likely to approve it.

PRP chairman Barry Munday said: "We are hoping to bring a health centre into the scheme, although this may not be done through PFI."