Housing association gains EIB funding for new insulation and construction projects
One of Britain's biggest housing associations has secured funding for a major investment project, which will include building new homes and also fitting new insulation in some of its existing stock.
Sovereign, the sixth largest of Britain's housing associations, has agreed a £150 million deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which will fund its activities over the next three years.
The company currently has an estate of 56,000 homes, but wants to add to this by 1,500 a year. The deal is the first of its kind involving an English housing association since 2014, and Sovereign may find this is a very timely move, given the UK's prospective departure from the European Union two years from next month.
While the politicians work out Britain's position in the world and housing associations consider what their future sources of funding will be, Sovereign will proceed with its projects, using some of the cash to carry out important work on its existing estate. Fitting new insulation in many homes is a clear priority, just as it will be for the new dwellings as they are built. New doors and windows will also be fitted in the properties that need it.
The new homes will be constructed at various sites, including spare land at Newbury Racecourse. Others will be built in Basingstoke, Bristol, Abingdon and Christchurch.
Commenting on the EIB investment, chief financial officer at Sovereign Mark Hattersley said: "We're committed to making the most of our financial capacity to invest in building much-needed affordable homes to rent and buy across the south and south-west.
"This funding from the EIB, loaned at sector-leading rates, will also help us improve the energy efficiency of our existing homes, in addition to providing those affordable places to live."
Sovereign was formed last year by an amalgamation of Spectrum Housing Group and Sovereign Housing Association, after discussions between the two about swapping and selling stock that began in 2015 developed into merger talks.