Council and Developers say Housing PFI is still on track

In the latest statement from Leeds City Council today executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services Councillor Peter Gruen said:

“The council remains absolutely committed to plans to deliver improvements to over 1200 homes and the surrounding estates and to build 388 new homes through the PFI project. Completing the procurement of this important scheme remains a priority and the council has worked very closely with the preferred bidder, Sustainable Communities 4 Leeds (sc4L), to resolve all outstanding matters to enable this.

Cllr Peter Gruen
Cllr Peter Gruen

“The commercial and funding arrangements are complex and some aspects have taken longer for all parties to conclude than we hoped for, which has caused a further delay in reaching financial close. The preferred bidder and lenders have however confirmed that they are also fully committed to the project and have agreed a revised timetable to complete final funding and commercial documents, which should see the contract signed by the end of February.

“We will continue to work with all the relevant parties to ensure this timetable is met so that a start to works can begin as soon as possible to improve existing homes and provide new homes in the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck areas. We will write to all tenants and residents within the project areas once the procurement is completed and the project timetable is confirmed.”

A statement by sc4L said:

“Sustainable Communities 4 Leeds (sc4L) notes the concerns and comments raised both within the council and wider forums and remains fully committed to the project and its delivery within the revised programme.”

3 Replies to “Council and Developers say Housing PFI is still on track”

  1. Been a joke this project from the start. What council in their right mind demolishes hundreds of habitable units before even the first brick has been put in place on anything to replace them? Not even finalising and signing up to the contract for same? Whoever planned this deserves the sack. Not been properly managed, thought out, or time tabled. Any demolition could have been phased to allow any new build but no, LCC chooses to get the bulldozers in anyway. Clowns in charge.

  2. While agreeing this has gone on far too long and having reservations about using Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding it’s perhaps worth bearing in mind a couple of things.

    Once it was decided to use this form of funding to demolish and replace some Council housing as well as improve some other houses then those living in the accommodation to be demolished faced the prospect that at some point they would be forced to move. In that position many preferred to move rather than be left in buildings which became empty. If the Council re-housed people in the empty accommodation they would have had to find further housing to rehouse more people subsequently.

    The main reason for going ahead with the scheme was the offer of government money. It doesn’t make sense to spend money on buildings that are going to be demolished so once it was pretty certain the scheme was going to happen it made sense to empty the properties and demolish them.

    In my view the major reason for delay has been the government and not just the present administration. It is a great pity that the scheme wasn’t approved by the last Labour government my understanding is that there were concerns about value for money but how far these were the real reason for the failure for the scheme to get approved then is very difficult to know.

    There were concerns expressed locally about the decision to build more Council housing rather than provide affordable social housing via housing associations which would have been better value for money and whether the mix of new housing planned was appropriate with some people feeling there should be fewer small flats and more family accommodation.

    Anyway let’s hope the scheme starts soon as the areas affected could do with the investment.

    1. I agree that it’s about time the affected areas get the investment. I just hope that when it does arrive that the quality of tenants that move into the new (or refurbished accommodation) is taken into consideration too – after all we want the area to improve!

      On a slightly separate note, the tenants that were in effect ‘moved out’ of their council homes to make way for the new developments were financially compensated (in most cases by at least £5k) and paid a fee to move out and have all their personal possessions packed up and transported to their new places!

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