News / Events
First residents move in at Wiltshire scheme
17th August 2012
FIRST KEYS HANDED OVER FOR WESTBURY PARTNERSHIPS' AFFORDABLE HOMES
The first residents of new affordable homes in Wiltshire have received their keys, signalling a significant milestone for the £77 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project. The project, which will see around 242 affordable rented homes built in west Wiltshire, brings together Westbury Partnerships, Wiltshire Council , Aster Communities along with Persimmon Homes to deliver a mixture of one, two, three and four-bedroom houses, flats and bungalows.
The first eight homes have been completed and Mark Edwards, one of the first residents, has been handed the keys to his new home in Westbury. The 242 homes being built in west Wiltshire will be complete by 2014. Speaking of his new home, which he will share with his step-daughter Beth Walshaw, Mark said: “I’ve been on the housing waiting list for seven months having been in a shelter for that whole time. It’s really good to have space and security and to be able to close my own front door at the end of the day.”
This Westbury development is part of the first phase of work which will also see a mixture of houses, flats and bungalows built in Trowbridge, Warminster, Melksham and Hilperton. This project is one of 13 the government signalled continued support for following its spending review in November 2010. It is the first of those schemes to see new-build homes handed over to residents.
Steve Roche, managing director, Westbury Partnerships and Persimmon Homes Wessex, is overseeing the project on behalf of the company. He said: "Creating new communities is at the heart of our business, and we pride ourselves on building homes to an excellent standard and delivering projects on time. This initiative was spearheaded by Westbury Partnerships, so it is particularly pleasing to see the first residents move in."
John Thomson, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for housing, said: “I am delighted we have reached this milestone and are now able to hand over keys to residents to these much needed affordable homes. It’s taken a lot of hard work from us and our partners to get to this point. We have worked extremely well together and despite the tough economic times these fantastic homes have been built on schedule.”
Mischi Wilk, area manager at the HCA, said: “I’m pleased that these high-quality, affordable homes are now complete. Strong partnership working has seen the PFI scheme in Westbury reach this important milestone and I now look forward to seeing similar progress at the other sites across west Wiltshire.”
To watch or post a video about the project click here: http://youtu.be/vpRy0mbIeBg or http://rileyphotos.dphoto.com/album/2e75es
summer events a success
16th August 2012
Staff and guests of Westbury Partnerships joined in with the group’s 40th anniversary celebrations this summer. Two hospitality events were held to mark the business milestone, attended by a wide range of clients, partners, consultants and staff.
The first summer party was a barbeque at the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Harborne, Birmingham where around 50 people from organisations such as the Bromford Group, Waterloo HA, Midland Heart, Places for People, Festival Housing Group, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and RPS Planning & Consultancy took the opportunity to meet the team whilst being entertained by a jazz band.
“We really enjoyed the barbeque in Birmingham and although the weather was not kind to us there was a relaxed atmosphere and it was good to catch up with clients and colleagues from across the Midlands,” commented Ashley Lane, Partnerships Director.
A week later the Westbury Partnerships team moved south west to Bath where they hosted a supper and evening of horse racing at the city’s racecourse.
Representatives from Aster, Greensquare, Sovereign Housing, Derwent Living, Yarlington Housing, Savills, Ark Consultancy and Rider Levett Bucknall were amongst those who came along to catch up with staff whilst watching some first class racing.
Group Affordable Housing Projects Manager Amelia McCann said that guests commented on what an enjoyable evening it had been and that many of them had backed winners.
“The racecourse even asked us to present the prize to the winner of one of the races, which was quite an honour,” she said.
Group Partnerships Director Ashley Lane presenting the winning owner with his prize at Bath Races
15th August 2012
http://summer newsletterPlease see attached pdfs of our latest newsletter
Donation to children's hospital
15th August 2012
A Birmingham charity has been given a boost thanks to the generosity of staff and clients of Westbury Partnerships. The business held two summer events recently to mark the 40th anniversary of the group and decided to use the occasions to raise money for a worthy cause - Birmingham Children’s Hospital – by raffling off two magnums of champagne.
The initiative raised the impressive amount of £600 which was recently presented towards research into cancer and leukaemia at the hospital. The fund was chosen as a member of the Westbury Partnerships’ team, Amanda Rudd, has good reason to be thankful to the children’s hospital this year.
“My son Bradley, who is now 12, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma just over a year ago and he has been a regular patient of Doctor Bruce Morland at the hospital,” explained Amanda, who is an administrator at Westbury Partnerships’ Studley office.
“He has received the most brilliant treatment and is now on the road to recovery so I was thrilled when the charity was chosen to benefit from the two events. Westbury Partnerships have been very supportive of us during the last year and I was very touched that they chose to donate the money to a cause so close to my heart,” she said.
She and Bradley recently presented the cheque to the hospital where Doctor Morland commented that he was very grateful for the donation.
“The hospital does rely on fundraising to a large extent so we were very pleased to receive this cheque. I am glad to say that I will be seeing a lot less of Bradley now as he is making a good recovery.” Amanda and husband Jamie are seen with son Bradley, Dr Bruce Morland and Amelia McCann of Westbury Partnerships
Persimmon marks 40th birthday with charity giveaway
30th May 2012
Westbury Partnership’s parent group Persimmon Homes has announced that it is to give away a new home worth £250,000 and £138,000 in cash to charities across Britain to mark its 40th birthday.
One regional charity will win a three-bedroom house with garage, whilst 23 runners up will receive a £6,000 donation each from Persimmon’s regional businesses.
The winner will be revealed at Persimmon’s birthday charity lunch in September 2012.
Persimmon was established in 1972 by current life president Duncan Davison. It now completes around 10,000 homes every year across the UK. Over the past four decades it has built 200,000 homes, creating many new communities.
Group chief executive Mike Farley said: “Today’s announcement is our way of giving back to these communities. In the first instance, we are asking charities with a turnover of no more than £10 million to tell us in 250 words or less why their charity deserves to win our brand new house. Supporters of charities can also nominate."
Westbury Partnerships achieves ISO 9001 accreditation
7th December 2011
Westbury Partnerships has become one of the few firms of its kind to achieve ISO 9001 quality assurance certification.
The company underwent a comprehensive review of its business to reach this international standard of management.
“We are delighted to receive ISO 9001 - particularly as few major housebuilders achieve this recognition,” said Ashley Lane, group partnerships director of Persimmon Homes, parent group to Westbury Partnerships.
“This brings the benefit of independently certified quality assurance documentation and procedures to complement our corporate financial strengths, development expertise and sales and marketing capabilities.
"We already have thorough quality assurance procedures within Persimmon which are applied across all of our companies. However, we recognise that public and voluntary sector clients often prefer to see evidence of independent quality certification, hence the reason for going the extra mile for Westbury Partnerships.
"Whilst ISO 9001 is often provided by contractors, it is less usual from major homebuilders. Therefore we will now be on a more level playing field with our contractor competitors when bidding for public sector land and we also bring to the table our vast financial resources for investment into land and mixed tenure development opportunities, along with dedicated expertise in residential development.
"Our clients now have the added assurance that Westbury Partnerships' management systems are now fully independently certified through ISO 9001."
From 1st January 2012 Westbury Partnerships is to be operated from all 24 regional Persimmon offices in order to offer an expanded service to clients throughout Britain.
Westbury Housing Investments scheme launched
7th December 2011
A ‘first of its kind’ shared equity scheme has been launched in a bid to get the housing market moving.
The ‘Westbury Housing Investments’ initiative, which can be applied to any site subject to a Section 106 agreement, aims to kick-start the supply of affordable homes. In the spirit of the Housing Strategy announced recently by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, this initiative takes a fresh look at Section 106 agreements in an innovative fashion so as to ‘Get Britain Building’ whilst maintaining affordable housing delivery.
Backed by leading housebuilders Persimmon Homes & Charles Church, the scheme takes a unique approach to current market issues and offers a range of benefits to local authorities, social landlords and local communities.
Ashley Lane, Partnerships Director of Persimmon Homes Group, commented: “The majority of affordable/social housing is now provided to RSLs by house builders through Section 106 planning agreements which typically have called for 80% of these homes to be rented, 20% shared ownership.
“The declining property market has meant that the lower values of these rented and shared ownership homes have put sites in jeopardy due to commercial unviability. This has led to developments either being halted or in some cases not even started.”
He said that if the tenure mix of Section 106 sites was changed by introducing shared equity homes in place of rented and shared ownership (typically to 50% rent, 50% shared equity whilst maintaining the total number of homes built), the site could become viable. In addition, aspiring home-owners using shared equity as opposed to shared ownership did not need to find such a large initial deposit and in many cases offered a lower monthly cost.
Westbury Housing Investments also recycles any surpluses arising from ultimate shared equity sales back into the local area to produce more affordable homes. This ‘innovative’ ring-fencing of the surpluses meets the ‘perpetuity’ requirement of many adopted affordable housing policies and does not differ from the situation in conventional RSL shared ownership schemes and the use of staircasing receipts as recycled capital grant funding.
Under the scheme purchasers take out a mortgage for 75% of the property’s selling price and are then given a loan from Westbury Housing Investments for the remaining 25% of equity, interest-free for five years.
In the sixth year the interest is fixed at 1.75% and then increases at a rate of RPI+1% annually for the life of scheme, which is 15 years in total. Residents have the option to staircase their shares up to 100% ownership at anytime over the 15-year duration.
As with conventional Section 106 affordable housing, the shared equity homes will go to appropriate people nominated from the waiting lists of local authorities or their designated agent. This ensures that priority is given to people in housing need and on the waiting list for affordable housing.
The first Westbury Housing Investments site has just started in Braintree, Essex, with others in the pipeline throughout England and Wales.
For further information please contact: Dr Ashley Lane Group Partnerships Director, Persimmon Homes Group. Tel: 07957 815275
Meet the team evenings
15th March 2011
Two 'meet the team' events were held at Solihull and Bristol when we announced our latest group financial figures, introduced some new members of staff and talked about the challenges we all face in today's housing market. Our guest speaker were Charles Amies and David Warburton, Regional Directors of the Homes and Communities Agency, who made short presentations on the important current issue of ‘Affordable Rent and Flexible Tenancies’.
20th February 2011
Frome pensioner Lillian Cullen-Crossman has helped us to launch the new development which will become her home later this year.
Lillian (86), not only cut the first turf at the new Randolph Road scheme but also provided its name.Lillian suggested Keyford Heights as the title of the 36-home Extra Care development being built by Westbury Partnerships.It will form part of a £16 million re-development which will see more than 100 new affordable properties built by us, working with Flourish Homes.