Housing Minister Visits Unity's Affordable Homes Projects

The Minister of State for Housing and Planning has been in Leeds to see the work Unity Homes and Enterprise is doing to provide high quality affordable homes across the city.

Alok Sharma MP, who was appointed to the post by Prime Minister Theresa May in June, began his visit at Unity’s recently completed £1.8 million Holborn Court development in Little London.

Delivered in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency and Leeds City Council, the scheme comprises 15 flats and two wheelchair accessible bungalows.

They replace a number of Council-owned bedsits which had become derelict.

Whilst there, the minister dropped in on local resident Ian Bailey who moved into his new flat after more than a decade of service as a soldier with the British Army.

Mr Sharma then made the short journey across the city to Chapeltown to see an exciting new Unity project due for completion later this year.

It includes the refurbishment of a derelict property and a new-build extension to adjoining land in a conservation area.

The development at 146 Chapeltown Road, close to Unity’s headquarters, will create six flats whilst retaining the original façade as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund initiative.

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said: “I am delighted to be in Leeds today to discuss with Unity Homes and Enterprise how they are delivering quality affordable homes in the area.

“Social housing is a key priority for the Government and that is why I am meeting with tenants across the country and we will bring forward a green paper which will address the issues facing social housing tenants.

“We have confirmed plans for a new generation of affordable homes through a further £2 billion funding boost bringing investment in affordable housing to over £9 billion up to 2021, and provided future rent certainty to the sector.

“Yesterday the Prime Minister also confirmed that we will not apply a local housing allowance cap to the social rented sector.”

Ali Akbor, chief executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise, said: “We were delighted when the minister kindly accepted our invitation to come to Leeds to see the excellent work Unity is doing, alongside our partners, to develop new affordable homes.

“At the core of our ethos is a belief that the revitalisation of communities is not just about providing first class housing, but also wider social and economic regeneration.

“Both of the projects Mr Sharma visited are located at the heart of communities very much on an upward curve.

“Unity is proud to play a leading role in improving lives of Leeds residents and offering a sense of real optimism for their shared futures.”

Shruti Bhargava, chair of Unity Homes and Enterprise, said: “Unity is driven by a sense of social purpose. We also have a proud and deep affinity with the communities we serve.

“Mr Sharma is the first Housing Minister to have taken up the offer to visit Unity projects and we are grateful to him for coming.

“We hope he will return to Whitehall with an appreciation of Unity’s efforts to help local people and provide them with high quality affordable housing in regenerated neighbourhoods.

“We look forward to working closely with the Government and other partners to deliver many more homes and further improve other communities in the years ahead.”


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