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Fri June 25 2021

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Taxpayer subsidy kick-starts Crest Nicholson's Ashford scheme

27 Apr 12 Contracts for the first site to be unlocked through the Homes & Communities Agency's £570m Get Britain Building programme have been exchanged this week.

Crest Nicholson boss Stephen Stone says the subsidy is good value for taxpayers
Crest Nicholson boss Stephen Stone says the subsidy is good value for taxpayers

The HCA described the deal as a milestone in its plans to bring forward the delivery of more than 15,000 new homes around England by December 2014.

The first site is being delivered by developer Crest Nicholson on the southeast outskirts of Ashford in Kent. At 168 ha, Cheeseman’s Green has been granted £2.3m of funding for the release of 100 new three- and four-bedroom family homes. This will form the first phase of the scheme, which has planning consent for a community of more than 1,000 new homes, alongside community facilities, including a primary school, healthcare facility, community centre and sports facilities.

This site was commissioned by the HCA on the basis that the Get Britain Building Fund unlocks delivery on schemes that are of high importance to particular communities and can create wider local benefits. Under the Get Britain Building programme Crest Nicholson has been shortlisted for £25.2m of loan funding investment across eight sites in total, and, if the bids are successful, it is expected that over the next two years the funding for these sites will enable Crest Nicholson to bring forward nearly 900 additional new homes.

Crest Nicholson is one of Britain’s leading private-equity-backed, mid-market companies with the fastest-growing profits, according to the latest The Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100.

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Crest Nicholson chief executive Stephen Stone was quick to justify the subsidy from the taxpayer: "The construction sector is recognised as a real driver for recovery and growth, and continued investment in the industry is essential. With every £1 spent on building work estimated to generate £2.84 of wider economic activity, this funding allocation is not only great news in terms of the delivery of much needed new housing, but will also inject a welcome boost into local economies.

"Job creation is a key part of our business ethos, with apprentices making up almost 10% of our workforce, and with the Home Builders Federation stating that every home built creates 1.5 full-time jobs, plus up to four times that number in the supply chain, the value inherent in kick-starting the UK’s construction market should not be underestimated."

Crest Nicholson’s Bath Riverside is another of the commissioned projects and is due for consideration by the HCA in the coming weeks. The potential funding would be used to recommence construction of 81 new apartments, securing the future delivery of a further 2,122 plots on the site.

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