Bower Brook Gardens is a development of 185 homes at Page Lane in Widnes, delivered through a £14million joint venture partnership by Russell Homes and Halton Housing.
The scheme comprises a true mixed tenure of properties, with 42 open market houses for sale through Russell Homes, 123 properties for affordable rent with HHT, and 10 for market rent with its commercial arm OSUK. There are another 10 for shared ownership sale with Halton Housing.
At the centre is the ‘green heart’ of the development, featuring a children’s playground and an area of public open space.
Russell Homes approached Halton Housing in 2014 with a proposal to regenerate an 11-acre former industrial site on Page Lane, vacant for four years and requiring around £1m remediation.
An area identified for conversion from industrial to residential by the local authority, both partners recognised the opportunity to regenerate the site and provide much needed affordable new homes.
Russell Homes provided a full turn-key service for Halton Housing, securing the land and planning permission, designing and constructing the properties. The Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England) contributed £2.3million to the £14.3million investment.
Daniel Kershaw, Russell Homes director, said of the scheme: “The team was very conscious that there would be no discernible difference between the private and social housing, and that we would apply an attention to detail with Bower Brook Gardens that we bring to all Russell Homes developments. Our MD took a particular interest in this development, and was keenly involved with the design process, to its benefit.
“As a client Halton Housing was exemplary. They were willing to take advice but not shy of insisting on the things that were important to them. Their development team was extremely responsive and an open communication policy at all levels – from project managers to directors – was incredibly important throughout the planning and then construction phases.
“Without this JV the development simply would not have been viable, and certainly not the success it has proved to be. The investment by Halton Housing helped mitigate the risk for Russell Homes; while the investment and expertise of Russell Homes was crucial in order to deliver a scheme of this size and quality for them.
“This JV has achieved the aim of adding 143 new build properties to the Halton Housing portfolio, regenerated a derelict site within the borough, and has acted as a catalyst for further development in the area.
“Our experience with regard to land buying, planning, design and construction was critical for the smooth delivery of a well-designed and executed development that was as attractive to private buyers and renters as it was to Halton Housing tenants.”
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