Cannock Chase Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Bryan Jones, welcomed the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick to Cannock yesterday afternoon (Friday) during a visit to the town to see new homes being built.
Cannock Chase is among the first local authorities to take part in the Government’s First Homes programme launched in May, as part of the Phase 1 Pilot. The programme offers a minimum discount of 30 per cent to first time buyers purchasing their first home.
The Secretary of State visited a development of 10 First Homes under construction off Walkmill Lane in Bridgtown by Vistry Partnerships. Walkmill Place is the second site in the country to feature First Homes.
The Council gave planning permission in 2018 for 116 homes to be built on this site. As part of the S106 planning agreement 20 per cent were to be provided as affordable housing with a mix of rented and shared ownership homes.
As the development progressed with the involvement of a Registered Provider, 58 of the new homes will now be available for rent or shared ownership, which is in addition to the 10 First Homes.
The Council’s new Corporate Plan, which includes a focus on supporting economic recovery post the pandemic, has an increase in affordable housing for residents as one of its main priorities.
Housing Secretary RT Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Enabling more people to buy their own home is at the heart of the mission of this Government, and First Homes will offer a realistic and affordable route into home ownership for even more people who want to own their own home.
“I was delighted to come to Cannock to see the new First Homes as they go onto the market. Offering more local people and families a route into home ownership where they already live while also supporting key workers by giving many of them a chance to buy a home at a 30% discount.”
Councillor Bryan Jones said: “Creating new homes and giving first time buyers the chance to purchase their first property is important to us and the country as a whole to address the urgent need for more house building.
“As a Council we are close to completing the building of new Council housing at nearby Hawks Green, transforming part of our Council depot, and here at Walkmill Place former brownfield land is being developed for attractive new homes. We will look to support similar ventures where they are appropriate and bring benefit to our District.”
The Divisional Managing Director of Vistry Partnerships, James Warrington, said: “It’s been a privilege for our Walkmill Place development in the West Midlands to be one of the first sites in the UK to offer the First Homes initiative for local people. Delivering quality affordable homes, and lasting communities is a real priority for us and we are excited to start taking reservations very shortly.”
The Secretary of State was also able to meet the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, Interim Managing Director, Bob Kean, and Head of Housing and Partnerships, Nirmal Samrai, as he toured the site.
He went on meet two management trainees employed by Vistry Partnerships who are currently working on the development, Quantity Surveyor, Ella Hodnett and Assistant Site Manager, Lee Callaghan, and spent time meeting Jodie Heap and Antony Heap who took advantage of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme to buy a home on the development.
He ended his visit by planting a tree to mark the launch of First Homes at Walkmill Place in association with Homes England, Cannock Chase Council, Vistry Partnerships and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Photograph: Pictured at the tree planting site (left to right) are James Warrington, Divisional Managing Director at Vistry Partnerships, Councillor Bryan Jones, Deputy Leader of Cannock Chase Council, Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Cannock Chase Council, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, Nirmal Samrai, Head of Housing and Partnerships at Cannock Chase Council, and Bob Kean, Interim Managing Director at Cannock Chase Council.