In July 2015 the Government announced their budget, which included changes affecting the funding and operation of providers of social housing. One important change was that all housing associations (such as RHP) and councils will have to reduce their rent levels by 1% per annum over the next four years. This reduction will have a significant impact on RHP’s future rental income and will affect many investment decisions over the coming months and years.
RHP, with Richmond Council, have had to consider the impact of this announcement on all schemes that include an element of social housing and Ham Close is one such scheme. The impact is significant and the consequence is that the number of options included within the high level viability appraisal has had to be revised. In essence RHP cannot afford to deliver a refurbishment option as it will involve significant costs and achieve no additional income. At a time of austerity this is just not affordable or realistic.
Therefore we are faced with a simple choice of either:
Wholesale redevelopment - complete demolition of all existing buildings on the site and new build re-provision of all residential and non-residential buildings, plus the provision of additional new build residential accommodation, or
Stay as we are - no improvement works.
If we are to redevelop Ham Close the scheme must be financially viable. We think that a visionary, wholesale redevelopment scheme should be possible but further work is now needed to really test what is possible, looks great and is truly viable.