Helena secures £90m loan to build 1400 homes

St Helens Star: Helena boss Rob Young Helena boss Rob Young

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.”

Comments (12)

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4:20pm Mon 27 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Whilst I applaud more social housing being built , this raises some questions.

1 If it's OK to take a loan of Warrington council to build new houses , why is it not OK to loan money of the government to keep our council tax to a 1% rise rather than 2%.

2 If the council are "running on fumes" as Barrie says - how are we going to pay back the cash? Will it be passed onto the taxpayer- again?

3 If somehow we can make loan repayments , how much are they and if there's disposable income to pay such installments why can we not keep Sutton pool open or the Libraries they are on about closing.

4 Does this not show that Labour still do not have the message on borrow borrow borrow?
Whilst I applaud more social housing being built , this raises some questions. 1 If it's OK to take a loan of Warrington council to build new houses , why is it not OK to loan money of the government to keep our council tax to a 1% rise rather than 2%. 2 If the council are "running on fumes" as Barrie says - how are we going to pay back the cash? Will it be passed onto the taxpayer- again? 3 If somehow we can make loan repayments , how much are they and if there's disposable income to pay such installments why can we not keep Sutton pool open or the Libraries they are on about closing. 4 Does this not show that Labour still do not have the message on borrow borrow borrow? barrie timpson

4:24pm Mon 27 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

and 5 , if by some miracle the council lose the next ballot , will a new council be tied into paying off this debt?
and 5 , if by some miracle the council lose the next ballot , will a new council be tied into paying off this debt? barrie timpson

7:06pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Geoff911 says...

Helena are not part of the Council Barrie, or so they tell us.
Helena are not part of the Council Barrie, or so they tell us. Geoff911

7:43pm Mon 27 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Maybe maybe....
Maybe maybe.... barrie timpson

7:45pm Mon 27 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

You're bang on ! Apologies all round !!
You're bang on ! Apologies all round !! barrie timpson

8:06am Tue 28 Jan 14

jumperr says...

It begs the question what have our council been doing over the yrs, why did they not build houses keep them up to date etc and all the other things that stand out that need doing are they up to the job of running a council.
It begs the question what have our council been doing over the yrs, why did they not build houses keep them up to date etc and all the other things that stand out that need doing are they up to the job of running a council. jumperr

10:11am Thu 30 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

So long as houses get built who cares? As to loans er-do people still take out mortgages- a loan by another name.
So long as houses get built who cares? As to loans er-do people still take out mortgages- a loan by another name. Bill Bradbury

11:02am Thu 30 Jan 14

jumperr says...

Come on Bill depends who builds them,( price) plus rabbit hutches should be outlawed
Come on Bill depends who builds them,( price) plus rabbit hutches should be outlawed jumperr

1:20pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

jumperr wrote:
Come on Bill depends who builds them,( price) plus rabbit hutches should be outlawed
Agree!
[quote][p][bold]jumperr[/bold] wrote: Come on Bill depends who builds them,( price) plus rabbit hutches should be outlawed[/p][/quote]Agree! Bill Bradbury

11:10pm Thu 30 Jan 14

jimstevo says...

(For information of readers) Helena Living is part of Helena Partnerships, a well-respected housing association based in the North. Created in 2002 to take over the housing stock of St Helens Council in Merseyside, the company has rejuvenated homes and communities.


In the last 10 years, Helena has invested almost £500 million in the St Helens borough - that's almost £1 million every single week. Helena has also built over 300 new homes, with 500 more on the way in the next three years.
(For information of readers) Helena Living is part of Helena Partnerships, a well-respected housing association based in the North. Created in 2002 to take over the housing stock of St Helens Council in Merseyside, the company has rejuvenated homes and communities. In the last 10 years, Helena has invested almost £500 million in the St Helens borough - that's almost £1 million every single week. Helena has also built over 300 new homes, with 500 more on the way in the next three years. jimstevo

1:59am Fri 31 Jan 14

WolfieSmith says...

jimstevo wrote:
(For information of readers) Helena Living is part of Helena Partnerships, a well-respected housing association based in the North. Created in 2002 to take over the housing stock of St Helens Council in Merseyside, the company has rejuvenated homes and communities.


In the last 10 years, Helena has invested almost £500 million in the St Helens borough - that's almost £1 million every single week. Helena has also built over 300 new homes, with 500 more on the way in the next three years.
300 new homes in the last 10 years is only 30 a year, not a lot really. By the way, what happened to 'Greenbase' in Thatto Heath is it still going or is it defunct? I believe a lot and I mean a lot of money was spent on that.
[quote][p][bold]jimstevo[/bold] wrote: (For information of readers) Helena Living is part of Helena Partnerships, a well-respected housing association based in the North. Created in 2002 to take over the housing stock of St Helens Council in Merseyside, the company has rejuvenated homes and communities. In the last 10 years, Helena has invested almost £500 million in the St Helens borough - that's almost £1 million every single week. Helena has also built over 300 new homes, with 500 more on the way in the next three years.[/p][/quote]300 new homes in the last 10 years is only 30 a year, not a lot really. By the way, what happened to 'Greenbase' in Thatto Heath is it still going or is it defunct? I believe a lot and I mean a lot of money was spent on that. WolfieSmith

11:43am Fri 31 Jan 14

MLHP says...

WolfieSmith wrote:
jimstevo wrote:
(For information of readers) Helena Living is part of Helena Partnerships, a well-respected housing association based in the North. Created in 2002 to take over the housing stock of St Helens Council in Merseyside, the company has rejuvenated homes and communities.


In the last 10 years, Helena has invested almost £500 million in the St Helens borough - that's almost £1 million every single week. Helena has also built over 300 new homes, with 500 more on the way in the next three years.
300 new homes in the last 10 years is only 30 a year, not a lot really. By the way, what happened to 'Greenbase' in Thatto Heath is it still going or is it defunct? I believe a lot and I mean a lot of money was spent on that.
Still going very strong indeed is the Greenbase, it's used for all sorts of good causes... Attended a first aid course there recently, pop along and volunteer, gardening, cookery classes, Helena have twitter bd facebook pages which often advertise events in such places! It's carbon neutral, being that it's super insulated, super effieicent and in the long term costs far less than most buildings twice it's size
As for Helena, I'm sure most will agree its a gazillion times better than the council (it is a totally separate entity btw) all the estates are now much better looking , millions spent on revocations and improvements, insulation, solar panels to name a few... To get more homes built in any number in these tough economic times is hard enough, so 300 (I believe it's more acutally) is an excellent achievement, and to gain a £90m investment is fantastic, more than most comlanies, or housing associations in the country.
[quote][p][bold]WolfieSmith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jimstevo[/bold] wrote: (For information of readers) Helena Living is part of Helena Partnerships, a well-respected housing association based in the North. Created in 2002 to take over the housing stock of St Helens Council in Merseyside, the company has rejuvenated homes and communities. In the last 10 years, Helena has invested almost £500 million in the St Helens borough - that's almost £1 million every single week. Helena has also built over 300 new homes, with 500 more on the way in the next three years.[/p][/quote]300 new homes in the last 10 years is only 30 a year, not a lot really. By the way, what happened to 'Greenbase' in Thatto Heath is it still going or is it defunct? I believe a lot and I mean a lot of money was spent on that.[/p][/quote]Still going very strong indeed is the Greenbase, it's used for all sorts of good causes... Attended a first aid course there recently, pop along and volunteer, gardening, cookery classes, Helena have twitter bd facebook pages which often advertise events in such places! It's carbon neutral, being that it's super insulated, super effieicent and in the long term costs far less than most buildings twice it's size As for Helena, I'm sure most will agree its a gazillion times better than the council (it is a totally separate entity btw) all the estates are now much better looking , millions spent on revocations and improvements, insulation, solar panels to name a few... To get more homes built in any number in these tough economic times is hard enough, so 300 (I believe it's more acutally) is an excellent achievement, and to gain a £90m investment is fantastic, more than most comlanies, or housing associations in the country. MLHP

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