Latest phase of affordable housing released for sale in Cambridge

Latest phase of affordable housing released for sale in Cambridge

13 January, 2017

The second phase of apartments on the Abode development has been released for shared ownership sale.

The Abode development on Hobson Road in the Trumpington area of Cambridge has seen the second phase of its affordable housing released for sale this month. Launched in early December, 13 apartments on the development are now available for shared ownership purchase.

Buyers can purchase a minimum share of 25%, and the apartments start at £325,000 for a one-bedroom home up to £427,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Clare Andrews, Marketing Co-ordinator, responsible for selling the apartments on behalf of bpha Options to Buy, said: “With prices reaching almost half a million for a two bedroom apartment, shared ownership really does offer the average person the opportunity to own their own home in the city that they already live or work in.

“Great Kneighton is the ultimate urban village just three miles from Cambridge city centre, and adjacent to a new 120-acre Country Park. Offering excellent transport links to the city centre, Stansted, London and beyond, these new homes really couldn’t be better placed.”

They are available now to reserve off-plan with an expected completion date of March next year. The scheme also offers a number of two-bedroom houses which will be available for purchase early next year.

All apartments are built to a high specification and come with modern, fitted kitchens and bathrooms as well as high-spec flooring throughout.

For more information, contact the sales team or visit the Options to Buy website.

 

Christmas Hampers

bpha provides Christmas dinner to over 50 families in need

23 December, 2016

Christmas Hamper delivery

Christmas Hamper delivery

Christmas can be a difficult time for people who are struggling financially, so we joined forces with Tesco in Riverfield Drive, Bedford to deliver 52 Christmas Food Hampers, providing support to residents nominated by their front-line employees as being most in need. The hampers include everything a family needs to cook a traditional Christmas roast dinner and tea.

Thirty bpha employee volunteers, including Chief Executive Kevin Bolt, headed out to spread Christmas cheer to bpha homes across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Kettering.

bpha Community Development Officer, Jim Playle, who co-ordinated the deliveries said:

“To know that close to 200 people including 105 children will sit down to eat a healthy Christmas dinner because of this initiative, and wouldn’t have otherwise, is really powerful stuff. Many of the families I have spoken to had cancelled Christmas as they just couldn’t afford to do it. We are very pleased that we are making a real difference to these families at this time.”

 

Christmas present donations for Bedfordshire children

14 December, 2016

Over 170 presents have been donated by staff at bpha to help give children in Bedfordshire a better Christmas this year.

bpha has teamed up with the Harpur Centre and Heart Radio to take part in their Wishing Tree campaign.

Members of staff took a tag from the bpha Christmas tree showing the name and age of a child to buy a gift for in Bedfordshire.

Scores of presents were donated and have been delivered to the Harpur Centre for them to give to the children in time for Christmas.

Kevin Bolt, Chief Executive at bpha, said: “We were delighted to team up with the Harpur Centre and Heart Radio on their Wishing Tree campaign for children in Bedfordshire.

“Our staff have been very keen to support the campaign and have donated well over 170 fantastic presents that we hope will help the children have a better Christmas.”

Samantha Laycock from the Harpur Centre, said: “We would like to thank the team at bpha for supporting our Wishing Tree appeal this year.

“Due to an overwhelmingly generous response by our shoppers, Heart Radio listeners and bpha staff, we are proud to announce that thousands of gifts for underprivileged children and families in Bedfordshire will be delivered in time for Christmas.”

Our staff have also donated over 31kg in food donations to the ‘Christmas in a Box’ initiative organised by All Nationas Church in Bedford.

On Tuesday, 13 December, some bpha staff joined volunteers from the church and Bedford Foodbank to deliver 150 boxes of food that had been donated by students at Sharnbrook Middle School and our staff.

Jim Playle, Community Development Officer at bpha, said: “The Christmas in a Box initiative is a fantastic activity which last year saw over 650 boxes of food distributed to people in need, many of who are our tenants.

“The food we collected will be checked, sorted and then distributed across Bedford Borough over the next few days.”

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Social housing cheat to pay back £35,000

28 November, 2016

A bpha tenant has been ordered to pay back almost £35,000 after being prosecuted for lying to obtain low cost social housing.

Omid Hashemi, of Alamein Avenue, Bedford, has also been sentenced to a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years after claiming that he, his wife and his younger brother were living in overcrowded conditions.

However, after a referral by bpha to Bedford Borough Council, it was revealed that Mr Hashemi owned a three bed house, purchased just three months before applying for housing, which he rented out for profit.

In February this year, Mr Hashemi, was prosecuted at Luton Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Following the conviction an application was made to seize Mr Hashemi’s assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Hashemi benefited from his crime and ordered him to pay almost £35,000, which represented all of his available assets. The amount must be paid within three months or Mr Hashemi will face nine months in prison.

George Parkinson, Head of Housing Management at bpha, said: “Tenancy fraud is a crime and takes away housing from those people who need it the most.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and will continue to work closely with Bedford Borough Council and other partners to ensure that suspicions are fully investigated.”

If you suspect that someone may have lied on their application for housing, may have abandoned their property, or may be subletting their home please report any suspicions to bpha in confidence on 0330 100 0272 or email info@bpha.org.uk.

Joining forces to fight tenancy fraud

1 November, 2016

bpha has joined forces with Bedford Borough Council to launch a joint campaign to help identify tenancy fraud across the borough.

The Government has recognised that social housing tenancy fraud is a national problem, with homes being illegally sublet or people lying about their circumstance to get a tenancy.

The result is that homes are occupied by people who are not entitled to live there, thus increasing demand for organisations to provide expensive temporary accommodation for families desperately in need of affordable homes.

To help tackle the problem bpha has embarked on a joint working programme with Bedford Borough Council’s Fraud Investigation Service to investigate social housing fraud within the borough.

Since the initiative started last year, 21 properties have been repossessed due to tenancy fraud, resulting in more homes being available for those in need.

In addition, four criminal prosecutions and five cautions have been taken against those involved in tenancy fraud.

By addressing the issue, bpha and Bedford Borough Council aim to increase the number of Social Housing tenancies available across the borough and take action against those who deliberately and dishonestly abuse the system for their own gain.

Councillor Charles Royden, Deputy Mayor and Bedford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “People who sublet social housing may be committing tenancy fraud and are denying families in need of a place to call their own.”

People can report any suspicions of tenancy fraud to bpha in confidence on 0330 100 0272 or email info@bpha.org.uk.

You can also confidentially report Tenancy Fraud to the council by emailing fraud@bedford.gov.uk or call 0800 917 8491.

bpha appoints new Non-Executive Director to its Board

26 October, 2016

bpha is pleased to announce that Jill Ainscough has been appointed as Non-Executive Director to the bpha Board and also as Chair of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee.

jill-ainscough-linkedinJill is a highly experienced non-executive director having completed six years on the board at Sport England, including a period chairing the Audit Committee.

Jill is currently also a board member at the BMJ and was previously a non-executive director at Lakehouse Plc, where she chaired the remuneration committee.

 

Formerly Managing Director of Easynet, Jill joined Ofcom as Chief Operating Officer in 2007. Jill was a member of the main board covering wide ranging regulation of the communications sector and postal services. In this role she was also instrumental in delivering spectrum management for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Jill brings with her a wide breadth of experience as an executive working in commercial and operational roles within the private and public sectors whilst contributing a sound understanding of what it means to be a good non-executive director.

Jill said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the board of bpha and I am really looking forward to contributing to the association’s work to help more people access affordable housing. As a Bedford resident, I was particularly keen to support my local community and I’m very aware of the importance of social housing in this area. ”

Kevin Bolt, Chief Executive Officer at bpha, said: “We are pleased to welcome Jill to the board of bpha. She brings a wide range of skills and experience to our Board as well as a strong local perspective. We manage just under 18,000 homes and are one of the top 30 developing housing associations in the country.

“It is important that we have a strong and experienced Board to drive the performance of the organisation at a time when the housing sector is facing a range of economic, social and legislative challenges.”

Milton Keynes MP joins community walkabout

7 October, 2016

A Milton Keynes MP had a tour of bpha properties and met residents at a neighbourhood walkabout in the city.

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, visited the Oakridge Park estate on Friday, October 7, along with Housing and Community Officers from bpha.

During the walkabout Mr Lancaster heard what bpha is doing to help residents and understand any issues they may have.

Mr Lancaster said: “In an expanding community like Milton Keynes a proactive approach like this to engage with residents and make them feel part of the community is something which has got to be right.

“In a new city we need to foster a sense of community and help make people feel welcome and it is reinforcing the positive fabric of our society.

“With a sense of community estates get looked after better and quality of life is better.

“Anything we can do to break down barriers has got to be a good thing and I’m viewing what the BPHA do as an example of best practice that landlords should be encouraging to happen elsewhere in Milton Keynes.”

bpha organises regular neighbourhood walkabouts across its various sites to better engage with residents and listen to their concerns.

Steve Parsons, Housing Officer for Oakridge Park at bpha, said: “These walkabouts are a visible presence if people want to come out and tell us about any issues.”

MUFG and bpha complete £75m social housing deal

6 October, 2016

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s (MUFG) banking arm and Bedford-based housing association bpha today announce the signing of a new £75m ten-year revolving credit facility.

MUFG is one of the world’s largest and most stable banking groups. It launched a Social Housing offering last year that consists of a number of lending products, including 5-10 years’ secured lending by way of either term loan or revolving credit facility (RCF), as well as complementary business lines such as transaction banking, derivatives and capital market solutions. This deal represents a notable transaction in the sector and MUFG’s third loan to a registered provider.

The facility further builds on bpha’s work last year to increase liquidity, whereby £80m of funding was raised through the Affordable Housing Guarantee Scheme. In addition, the £100m restructuring of bpha’s derivative portfolio resulted in a significant reduction of potential mark to market exposure. This work, combined with today’s deal, ensures the continued viability of bpha’s long-term commitment to build 500-plus new homes per annum for the foreseeable future.

Robert Bartlett, Executive Director, MUFG, said: “bpha were one of the first registered providers we approached last year and we are delighted to have been able to put this facility in place. The bpha management team have given us a great deal of confidence in being able to navigate the business through the ongoing changes within the sector and we very much look forward to building a long term relationship with such an important client.”

Paul Gray, Chief Financial Officer of bpha, added: “We are delighted to have agreed this 10-year revolving credit facility with MUFG, which offered competitive terms, fitted well with our debt maturity requirements and will support our ongoing development of new homes. The team at MUFG were straightforward to deal with and we look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

Michael Scales, Director, Infrastructure, MUFG, added: “Signing with bpha adds another strong registered provider to our expanding Social Housing portfolio. We continue to see keen interest in our RCF product on a bilateral basis and we are working on a number of other opportunities within the housing sector.”