‘Site-specific’ delays cited as reason 786-home target was not met

Great Places Housing Group has missed its annual development target by 296 homes, following delays to several schemes.

The 25,000-home association confirmed to Housing Today that it has completed 490 homes in 2023/24 against a target of 786. The total was also down on the previous year’s figureof 649. The Manchester-based provider had warned in November that its target for 2023/24 was “at risk” due to delays including hold-ups to an 80-apartment scheme.

Helen Spencer 2

Helen Spencer, executive director of growth at Great Places

Helen Spencer, executive director of growth at Great Places, said the association’s completions reduced in the final quarter of the financial year due to a number of “site-specific challenges.”

She said: ”Our completions reduced in the fourth quarter as a result of delays due to a number of site-specific challenges. These involved delays in sign-off with statutory service providers, statutory bodies and several medium-sized apartment blocks missing their end of March deadline. These homes will now be completed in the coming months. 

“A development programme with such scale and ambition will inevitably have to overcome challenges along the way. Our programme was always focused on increasing momentum in the latter years of our current corporate plan, and we have delivered more than 2,000 affordable homes since 2020.”

Great Places’ corporate plan involves an ambition to build 9,000 homes between 2020 and 2030. A spokesperson for Great Places said so far over this 10-year period it has completed 2,134 homes and is on site with around 2,000 more, with higher completions expected in the latter years of the 10-year programme. 

Spencer said: “We are proud to be playing our part in tackling the housing crisis with around 2,000 homes currently on site, the most in the history of our programme, an additional 850 homes with or in the planning system and a further pipeline of more than 700 homes being worked up for planning submission in the next 12 months.”

>>See also: Great Places secures £284m in debt funding for investment in homes

The association last week announced it has secured £284m in debt funding, from Santander, Natwest and ABN Amro, which it will use to build new homes and improve existing stock.

Great Places last year said the number of homes it expects to develop through its strategic partnership with Homes England has reduced from 4,920 to 4,500 by 2028, following renegotiations with the agency over cost pressures.

In September 2023, Great Places homes output rose by 16% since the previous year, having built 557 homes between 2021 to 2022. 

The housing associations pre-tax surplus was £18.5 million for the first three quarters of 2023/24, down from £18.8 million in the same period the previos year. 

In June 2024, the chief executive, Matt Harison will be stepping down, after serving in the role since 2013. The group announced in January that it started its recruitment process for the new chief executive