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Helena secures £90m loan to build 1400 homes
2:55pm Monday 27th January 2014 in News
A ST HELENS housing association has secured a £90million loan to fund construction of 1400 social and affordable homes over the next five years.
Warrington Council is set to make the fund available to Helena Partnerships in a deal which both sides believe will drive economic growth.
Nine hundred new homes will be built in St Helens, while the rest will be in Warrington.
The deal emerged two months after Helena announced it was in talks to form a partnership with Warrington housing association Golden Gates.
Helena describes itself as “one of the largest developers of affordable new homes in the North West”, citing the award-winning development Ratcliffe Park in Rainhill as an example of its work.
Rob Young, chief executive of Helena Partnerships, said: “This funding will help us to realise our ambitions to create over 1,400 social and affordable homes in the region, 900 of which will be in St Helens.
“The geographical links between St Helens and Warrington provide a real opportunity to positively influence the regional economy.
“It’s also great news for our customers and our partners, and helps us map out the next phase of the company’s growth with greater certainty.
“Helena's roots and history are in St Helens and the company remains as committed as ever to the promises made almost 12 years ago before the stock transfer from St Helens Council.
“This investment reinforces our commitment to providing suitable homes which people can afford in our hometown.”
Some technical issues still have to be addressed but there appears confidence on both sides that a deal will be done.
Leader of Warrington Borough Council, Cllr Terry O’Neill, said: “This will be one of those genuine win-win opportunities. This loan will help drive regeneration.
“It will stimulate house building and create jobs. It will bring much-needed affordable properties within reach of hundreds of families.
It will help close the gap by bringing regeneration to some of our most deprived areas.
“And as a related benefit it will bring in much-needed income, which will help us to protect essential council services.
“Warrington Borough Council has been one of the first local authorities to do this, but other councils are gradually starting to do the same.
“This is good news because there’s currently a shortage of long-term finance due to the banking crisis, and as a result the UK is building about 100,000 new homes a year fewer than we actually need.
“It’s also good news for the local and regional economy in general, because every £1 spent on house building leads to £4 being spent in the wider economy.”
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