An ambitious housing project which aims to provide 395 new homes to three disused sites across Leicester has got off the ground following a £58M investment by Midland Heart and developer Westleigh Homes.
The partnership will bring much-needed new homes to the area across a mix of tenures, including private sale, market rent through Cygnet Property Management, a subsidiary of Midland Heart and importantly homes for affordable rent.
The £58M investment, funded through Midland Heart Private finance with a contribution of £4.9M HCA Grant of for the affordable housing elements, will see three separate sites across the City being bought back into use. First, the former hosiery factory on Leicester’s Wolsey Island, where the iconic Wolsey chimney and water tower will be retained making way for 188 new homes.
The second and third sites at former St Mary’s Allotments on Aylestone Road and abandoned industrial land off Green Lane Road, will bring a further 125 and 82 new homes respectively.
Ruth Cooke, CEO at Midland Heart said: “This is a hugely exciting project for Midland Heart demonstrating both our commitment to bring genuinely affordable and high quality housing to Leicester while also retaining the areas rich heritage.
“In the Midlands we have a number of sites, like Wolsey Island that are in need of sensitive regeneration to bring them back in to use. It is important to us, where we are able, to invest in these sites, extending our stock and improving access to much-needed affordable housing.”
The long-awaited redevelopment of the former hosiery factory on Leicester’s Wolsey Island is now formally underway and ground work has also started at St. Mary’s Allotment and Green Lane Road.
Matthew Moore, Property Director at Westleigh, said: “This is an exciting time for Leicester and we are looking forward to breathing new life into an area of the city which has been left behind by the regeneration that has happened all around it.
“We are a locally-based developer, so we understand the significance that the Wolsey factory holds for people in Leicester and the need to protect its legacy. We are proud to be working with the city council and our partners at Midland Heart to turn these plans into a reality.”
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby was invited to break ground on the Wolsey Island site at a ceremony last week with representatives from Midland Heart and Westleigh, speaking of the project he said: “This is a very welcome development for this part of the city. Leicester boasts some beautiful riverside settings but, until fairly recently, development in these areas has been slow to come forward.
“I hope Midland Heart’s and Westleigh’s vision will inspire other landowners to see the potential for their own sites in this area, and help to bring more of the city’s riverside back into use with new places to live and work.
The contract start date for the project was 31st March 2017, and the new homes will be completed in phases with final completion expected Winter 2019.