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Watson has carried on working safely throughout the past year despite all the issues businesses and construction firms have faced. In fact, we have recently grown with several new hires and we are still looking for new people to join the team, with more vacancies to be announced soon.

In 2020, we completed some amazing projects across the North West, including the Oasis Centre and Netherland Street phase two.

The Oasis Centre is a brand-new community facility for the Oasis charity, which supports families in and around Gorton, Manchester. The site also saw 26 new affordable homes delivered for One Manchester that are available via Rent to Buy and shared ownership.

At Netherland Street phase two, 43 homes for affordable and social rent were built with funding coming from Great Places Housing Group through its strategic partnership with Homes England. Now complete, the properties will help people who need the homes the most.

We have more live sites that we are looking to complete this year, too!

Delivering affordable housing

With 544 new houses in progress in areas such as Openshaw, Bolton, Salford and more, delivering much-needed affordable homes across the North West is something we are passionate about. We build thriving communities that meet the needs of local people.

Three of the sites we are cracking on with this year are Dakley Street, Chorley Street, and Withins Drive totalling 225 affordable homes.

Dakley Street, built on behalf of One Manchester in Openshaw, Manchester, will provide 38 new affordable homes which will help to meet the local need for high quality, affordable new build houses. Work is well underway, and we expect to hand over this development in August 2021.

Situated on the edge of Bolton town centre, we are looking to finish Chorley Street for Bolton at Home and Irwell Valley Homes in November 2021 with a total of 118 new affordable homes and apartments being constructed.

The site, split into three apartment blocks, contains 25 homes for residents aged 50 and over, 36 for affordable rent, and 40 available via Rent to Buy. A further 17 two, three, and four-bedroom houses are also being built for shared ownership.

At Withins Drive in Breightmet, Bolton, we are redeveloping the site of a former school into a mixed-tenure development of 69 new homes for Bolton at Home, including two and three-bedroom houses plus four cottage flats and 13 maisonette apartments. The housing variation will mean there is something available for everyone.

Affordable housing across England

While we have kept building and developing new communities for local people, how has England as a whole faired in bringing vital affordable homes to market?

According to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, only 57,644 affordable homes were delivered in England in 2019-20. This is well below the 145,000 that is estimated to be needed each year by the National Housing Federation and only 23% of all new homes built in that time period.

For context, there are nearly 400,000 people on waiting lists for social housing, with more than 10,000 people classed as homeless and 42,000 living in overcrowded conditions in the North West alone.

In fact, more than 160 local authority areas didn’t see a single new affordable home built in the 2019-2020 year. As it stands, the South East and East tend to produce more affordable homes than anywhere else in the country, followed by London.

Some of the region’s biggest cities highlight the issue. For example, Manchester reportedly built only 1,619 affordable homes out of 11,525 total in 2018/19, with property prices 6.8 times the average salary. Clearly, more needs to be done on a national level to address the affordable housing crisis we face.

At Watson, we are always looking for opportunities to create and build affordable communities for local people. By collaborating with local authorities and housing associations, we can build strong communities for people to live, in the areas where they are needed the most.

For updates on the progression of our sites and more follow us on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to check out our website to see our past projects and more.