• Ed Miliband launches Lyons Report at Crest Nicholson's Oakgrove Village development in Milton Keynes
Crest Nicholson today welcomed a visit from Labour leader Ed Miliband to its Oakgrove Village development in Milton Keynes. Unveiling the much anticipated Lyons Report, Miliband used the visit as a platform to pledge Labour’s commitment to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020, setting a course for doubling the number of first time buyers over the next decade.
Miliband was joined by Hilary Benn MP, Labour's Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, along with the Shadow Minister for Housing, Emma Reynolds MP.
Hosting the visit along with Elaine Bailey, Chief Executive of The Hyde Group, Chris Tinker, Executive Board Director & Regeneration Chairman at Crest Nicholson PLC, said: “Whilst the key indicators of current and future house building activity are very positive compared with the last few years, the number of housing completions still fall far short of the levels required to meet demand. Today’s announcement demonstrates how, if elected, the Labour party would help to unlock the market, increase delivery further and make home ownership a realistic option for more young people. We agree that we should be building homes where families truly want to live, and that first time buyers are able to directly benefit from any development in their local area. Oakgrove Village is a prime example of what can be achieved when we get things right; 81% of our purchasers are from the local area and over 50% of our homes have been acquired by first time buyers. In addition, with every £1 spent on building work estimated to generate £2.84 for the wider economy, and every home built creating 1.5 full-time jobs, plus up to four times that number in the supply chain, the positive impact on the local area and regional economy has been considerable.”
The Lyons Report advocates this community-led approach, highlighting key policy areas designed to unlock the supply of new homes and guarantee that communities get proper benefit from development in their area. This includes the recommendation that councils should produce a plan for homebuilding in their area and allocate sufficient land for the housing needs of their communities, and that local first time buyers can get priority access rights when new homes go on sale. Such policies, which are conceived to ensure that we not only plan for the delivery of over 200,000 homes per annum but also stimulate new entrants and the re-emergence of small and medium sized housebuilders into the market, are to be welcomed.
At Oakgrove Village, Crest Nicholson is working in close partnership with the public sector to deliver a development designed not only to deliver high quality housing but also to foster community cohesion. At the heart of the development is a central square which provides a vibrant hub for the community with cafes and a Waitrose supermarket. A new primary school is planned for the site and is scheduled to open in early 2016.
Also incorporated into the development are a series of high quality landscaped green corridors, open spaces and parkland which link the development with the Ouzel Valley Park along the western boundary, providing a network of cycle paths, walking routes and wildlife habitats.
Chris added: "We have a long standing commitment to boosting housing supply and careful integration with local communities is a core part of our approach. Equally, in delivering on this target the knock-on impact in terms of job creation, training and development should not be underestimated. Mentoring young people through apprenticeships and graduate training, encouraging them to forge a career within the construction industry and equipping them with the skills to meet these ambitious targets is going to be essential. Apprentices already make up 10% of our workforce, and we are excited about expanding and developing this pool of young talent and training even more apprentices to deliver the volume of new homes required.”