Pioneering Hart Homes receives planning permission for first development

Watford Borough Council and Watford Community Housing Trust have confirmed the formation of a ground-breaking joint venture which will help to tackle the housing problem by developing much-needed affordable homes – with its first development having now received planning approval.

Published: Thursday, 26th January 2017
Tolpits Lane development
Tolpits Lane development

Hart Homes has been created to develop and manage quality homes for people in Watford and the surrounding areas. As one of the first such joint ventures between a local authority and a housing association, the new company offers a pioneering approach to addressing housing need.

By working in partnership, the two organisations will be able to access additional sources of funding for new homes and make more effective use of their land, helping to enhance Watford’s housing infrastructure by delivering modern homes fit for 21st century living. The newly formed company aspires to deliver more than 500 new homes over the next five years.

The first development to be delivered by Hart Homes has now been granted planning permission, and will see 36 residential apartments and 40 dwellings for temporary accommodation built on the land off Tolpits Lane in Watford. The apartments include a mixture of one- and two-bedroom homes, the majority of which will be available for affordable rent.

Once complete, the development will offer additional affordable homes and facilitate ongoing support for local households. The scheme will be spread across three blocks, with accompanying parking and landscaped green areas.

Tina Barnard, Chief Executive of Watford Community Housing Trust, said: “We are really proud to be entering into this joint venture with Watford Borough Council, which will provide much-needed new homes. We believe that Hart Homes will play a key role in providing a bright future for Watford.

“We are also pleased to have received planning approval for Hart Homes’ first development, which will help to meet the demand for affordable housing and demonstrates our commitment to driving improvements within our local community areas.”

Watford Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Housing and Property, Cllr Stephen Johnson said: “Watford is a progressive town with a thriving economy and a positive future and we’re delighted that our joint venture will be supporting that growth.

“Demand for property in Watford continues to increase, which is making it tough for some of our local families who have struggled to keep up with rent or mortgage payments. One of our top priorities is ensuring we have quality, affordable homes, as well as vital temporary accommodation, for local people on low and middle incomes.

“Hart Homes will create additional opportunities for people to have their own home, their own space and their own community.”

Did you know?

  • Hart Homes is a joint venture housing company formed by Watford Borough Council and Watford Community Housing Trust to develop and manage quality homes.
  • With a population of 96,400 predicted to increase to 109,600 by 2024, Watford is growing rapidly. Demand for property in the borough increases every year and many local people can no longer afford the rising house prices. Some local families are struggling to keep up rent or mortgage payments. The council is currently supporting over 220 families in temporary accommodation and resources are stretched.
  • Building more homes and addressing the housing problems in Watford is a top priority for Watford Borough Council. The council’s local plan sets out its approach, including annual targets for new homes. New developments by Hart Homes will help to meet these targets and reducing the strain on resources. 
  • Watford Community Housing Trust is a not-for-profit housing association, which provides homes and services to over 20 local communities throughout Watford and parts of Three Rivers, Hertfordshire. The Trust owns and manages nearly 5,000 affordable homes and is regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency.

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