Almos keen to submit home build bids

5 Jul 07
Council-owned housing companies are lining up to accept a government invitation to build new homes.

06 July 2007

Council-owned housing companies are lining up to accept a government invitation to build new homes.

At least eight arm's-length management organisations have submitted pre-qualification bids to the Housing Corporation in the hope of becoming 'investment partners' alongside registered social landlords and private developers.

The corporation should announce next week which bidders have passed the first stage of the 2008/11 National Affordable Housing Programme and can go on to draw up firm proposals prior to the awarding of development grants.

The strong interest shown by Almos indicates that councils are keen to resume building after Prime Minister Gordon Brown made affordable housing a key feature of his Labour leadership campaign.

Gwyneth Taylor, policy officer at the National Federation of Almos, said she was surprised that so many had completed pre-qualification questionnaires – the first stage of the bidding process – without first setting up a consortium with RSLs or developers. But they can still join a consortium before detailed bids are submitted later this year.

While Almos cannot borrow money privately in the same way as RSLs and private firms, they are more likely to have access to local authority land. 'The corporation is extremely interested in getting its hands on land that Almos can put into the pot,' said Taylor.

The Almos known to have submitted PQQs are Ashfield, Brent, CityWest, Derby, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kirklees and Sheffield. Three others, along with Derby, are also bidding to become accredited managers for homes built by private developers.

Andrew McNeil, regeneration manager at Derby Homes, said it was unlikely to build more than 'a few hundred' properties in the first instance. 'While we are ambitious, we need to be sure that we learn lessons as we go along,' he added.

All those submitting PQQs have already gained three stars from housing inspectors with the exception of Hillingdon. Other Almos are thought to be waiting until next year in the hope that more bidding will be allowed.


Did you enjoy this article?