/ News / More than 50% of housing sites included in the City Deal have legal agreements in place

The Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) has exchanged contracts with Miller Homes for a 175 unit scheme at Croston Road in Farington, near Leyland.

The exchange of contract marks the culmination of nearly 4 years of joint public and private sector work in preparing the site for development.

The exchange also means that HCA now has legal agreements in place on over 50% of its 11 City Deal assets which include Cottam Hall, Cottam Brickworks, Whittingham, Lostock Hall (also known as Walton Park Link Road), Croston Road and Brindle Road.

Currently these 6 sites are delivering 758 homes in the City Deal area and there will be more dwellings as future phases are delivered.

Karl Tupling, Executive Director, North West at the HCA said: “It’s great news that we’ve achieved this milestone of 50 % of City Deal sites being contractually committed. The government has made clear that the delivery of new homes is one of its top priorities and HCA, alongside its City Deal partners is committed to unlocking its sites to deliver homes faster.”

The Croston Road site itself is split into two parts with the southern portion of the site in the ownership of the HCA and the northern part in the ownership of a consortium of 6 land owners.

Rather than pursuing separate plans, the HCA has instead worked collaboratively and flexibly with the private sector to deliver this site for development. It has worked alongside the consortium of land owners to promote both elements of the site through the planning process including getting the site allocated as part of the Local Plan Process, undertaking a joint master-planning exercise for the whole of the site and submitting a joint outline planning application.

It might have been simpler for the HCA to proceed with the sale of its own land independently from the northern part of the site, but by adopting a joint approach costs have been shared between the public and private sector, the design of the site and associated access and spine road is far better integrated than if plans had been worked up separately and land values have been maximised resulting in more homes being developed and a larger land receipt being generated.

The receipt generated from the sale of the site, is in turn going to be used to invest in physical and social infrastructure in the City Deal area which will ensure that development is not delivered in isolation.

Jim Carter, Chair of the City Deal and board member for the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our City Deal will create thousands of new jobs over the next few years, growing the local economy by over £1bn and making it an even better place to live. Alongside these new jobs, we’ll need to make sure that new homes are built to meet future needs.  This development at Croston Road will help us to realise our economic vision for Central Lancashire. As well as creating jobs, new roads and new homes, City Deal is also about developing our communities. The delivery of new community infrastructure will be important part of the success of Croston Road.”

Of the 175 homes, 52 will be affordable with 26 delivered on site and 26 delivered off site via a financial contribution by the developer.

David Ruffley, Operations Director of Miller Homes said: “We are delighted to have won the tender for Croston Road. HCA has worked with us to renegotiate the s106 agreement for this site and we are also benefitting from a deferred payment approach which reduces development risk and improves our cash flow. The homes are due to start on site in summer 2016.”

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