Wheatley Group

Council buys land at Dumbarton Harbour for new affordable homes

West Dunbartonshire Council has agreed a number of measures to ensure its commitment to delivering 1,000 new affordable homes by 2021 is met.

At a special meeting of the local authority’s housing & communities committee this week, councillors made a decision to approve the purchase of land at Dumbarton Harbour and allow council officers to work towards concluding a deal for the 45 homes at the site.

The committee also agreed to sell land at Muir Road and Talisman Avenue in Dumbarton to Caledonia Housing Association and the Wheatley Group respectively.

The 1,000 new homes by 2021 commitment – part of the council’s More Homes Better Homes programme − will see the council work with housing association partners to deliver the affordable homes where they are most needed across the authority area.

Also announced at the meeting was a schedule or where and when the homes will be built. The council is currently building 40 homes at Second Avenue/Singer Street in Clydebank, with construction on 126 due to begin in financial year 2018/19 at the old St Andrews School site in Clydebank. Also beginning this year will be work on the 45 council homes at Dumbarton Harbour and 15 in Alexandria town centre. In 2019/20, work will start on 60 new Council houses in Bellsmyre, 81 in Haldane and 50 in Clydebank East.

Houses to be built by partners include 292 units by Wheatley Group/Cube Housing Association; 86 units by Clydebank Housing Association; 33 Link Housing Association homes; 167 homes by Dunbritton Housing Association and 242 Caledonia Housing Association units.

Councillor Diane Docherty, convener of housing & communities, said: “It was important that the committee gave officers the approval to acquire sites for new houses and also to draw down funding for various housing projects that will contribute to our delivery of 1000 new affordable homes by 2021. The council has set a very ambitious target and it’s one that we are determined to make. We must provide desirable affordable and high quality homes for the people of West Dunbartonshire and the decision taken by the committee this week will ensure we are best placed to do that.”

West Dunbartonshire Council said its More Homes Better Homes approach ties in with the Scottish Government’s wider target of 50,000 new affordable homes by 2021.

Councillor Iain McLaren, vice convener of housing & communities, added: “I was delighted to see more detail in terms of what houses will be built and where, and to be able to give the go-ahead for the next stage of our commitment to be realised.”

New Loretto homes transform site of former Glasgow primary school

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken marks the start of work on new Loretto homes at Buckley Street with (from left) Wheatley Group’s Jackie McIntosh, Paul Sweeney MP, Patrick Flynn of Glasgow City Council, Douglas Robin of Loretto Housing, Bob Doris MSP, Wheatley Group’s Olga Clayton, Councillor Gary Gray and Loretto’s Dan Blake

Work has started on transforming the site of a former primary school in the north of Glasgow into stylish affordable housing.

The former Greenview School in Buckley Street, Parkhouse, is being converted into 28 flats for social rent by Loretto Housing Association, part of Wheatley Group.

The historic B-listed school was designed by James Austen Laird, personal assistant to Sir JJ Burnet, one of Glasgow’s most distinguished architects.

The existing school building, as well as the adjoining janitor’s house, is being refurbished to include 20 flats, with the other eight being a new-build development on the same site. The homes will be for older tenants.

Loretto Housing chair Douglas Robin welcomed leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken, local elected members including Paul Sweeney MP and Bob Doris MSP, as well as staff from Loretto and Wheatley Group and other partners to mark the start of work on the new homes.

Douglas Robin, chair of Loretto Housing, in part of the old Greenview School building

The £4.1 million project is supported with a £2.5m grant from Glasgow City Council. The contractor on the development is McTaggart Construction.

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is a fantastic project, with the conversion of one community asset – a former primary school – into 20 affordable homes for Parkhouse.

“We want to work with our partners to deliver as many affordable homes as we can in Glasgow, and we can look forward to many such developments in the city in the coming years.”

Douglas Robin, chair of Loretto Housing, said: “At Loretto, we want to build better homes and better lives for our tenants.

“These modern, energy-efficient new homes will help people save on their fuel bills and really improve their quality of life.

“Preserving this distinctive building, while building much-needed affordable housing, will make a big difference to this part of Glasgow.”

The new homes at Buckley Street are a mix of one and two-bedroom flats, with one of the flats suitable for wheelchairs. They are expected to be complete around April next year.

The former janitor’s house will be supported accommodation for people with a learning disability.

As part of the contract with Wheatley, McTaggart is providing jobs and training opportunities for the community.

Gary Climson, managing director of McTaggart, said: “Bringing this characterful, old building back into use for the benefit of the community is very gratifying for our team.

“As the building is listed, we are combining traditional craftmanship with modern techniques to create these contemporary, highly-efficient homes.”

Paul Sweeney MP said it was apt the historic school was being brought back into public use.

Mr Sweeney, MP for Glasgow North East and board member of the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, said: “Parkhouse was one of the first districts to be developed for municipal housing by Glasgow Corporation after the passing of the historic 1924 Housing Act, led by Glasgow Labour MP John Wheatley.

“The superior ‘cottage’ style of dwellings in Parkhouse was modelled on Ebenezer Howard’s ‘garden suburb’ concept, presenting a stark contrast to the city’s traditional tenements, and was intended to serve as a showpiece for the healthier post-war city.

“The north of Glasgow lost much of its historic built environment though poor planning decisions in previous decades, so it is encouraging that there is a renewed focus on creating new housing to repopulate the area, while protecting what is left of our heritage in this part of the city.

“This new investment to protect its heritage by Wheatley Group and Loretto HA lives up to those founding principles of good quality social housing championed by John Wheatley.”

Loretto has already built around 200 homes since joining Wheatley Group in 2014.

As well as Buckley Street, work is well underway on another 114 Loretto homes at sites in Broomfield Road, Wallacewell Quadrant and Shawbridge Street, all in Glasgow.

Work will start soon on another 28 new Loretto homes in Muiryhall Street, Coatbridge.

Work starts on new affordable homes in Pollokshaws

CCG has started work on 42 energy- efficient affordable homes for social rent in Glasgow’s south side.

The off-site manufacturing specialist is working on behalf of Loretto Housing Association, a member of Wheatley Group, to build the new homes, consisting of a mix of flats, supported accommodation and houses.

The site, formerly occupied by the Shawbridge Street high-rise flats and a parade of nine shops, is situated within a short walking distance of Pollokshaws West Railway Station and Pollok Country Park.

Works commenced this January and the homes should take around a year to complete.

Pollokshaws is one of eight areas of Glasgow earmarked as a priority for regeneration by Transforming Communities: Glasgow (TC:G) a strategic partnership between the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and GHA.

David Fletcher, Wheatley Group director of regeneration, said: “These modern, spacious, high-quality homes will make a big difference to the quality of life of the people who live there. It’s an exciting time for Pollokshaws.”

CCG will deliver the new homes using its closed panel timber frame system that is manufactured in the bespoke ‘Off-Site Manufacturing’ facility in Cambuslang.

Alastair Wylie, chairman and CEO of CCG (Scotland) Ltd, said: “The Shawbridge Street project is one of many live examples of how CCG and Wheatley Group are working together to deliver on affordable housing targets across central Scotland. To provide homes that are more energy efficient is a key priority in this regard and CCG are pioneering this approach through sustainable construction methods.

“The use of our closed panel timber system will also reduce the impact of development on the densely populated area with a much faster speed of build than by traditional methods. “This, met with our expert construction experience, will ensure a swift delivery whilst ensuring quality as we begin the installation of the superstructure in early-2018.”

As part of Wheatley Group and CCG’s strategic partnership in delivering community benefit initiatives, various training and job opportunities will be available as a direct result of the Shawbridge Street project including trade apprenticeships and training, site-based job roles as well as work placements and curriculum support.

City Building welcomes 60 new apprentices

The new apprentices with City Building (Glasgow) chair Gordon Sloan and Councillor Greg Hepburn

The new apprentices with City Building (Glasgow) chair Gordon Sloan and Councillor Greg Hepburn

City Building has welcomed a flurry of new recruits, as more than 60 modern apprentices join the construction firm.

The diverse group, which includes four women, care leavers and a number of people from surrounding BME communities, were greeted by City Building’s boards of directors following an induction at Queenslie Training Centre yesterday.

In addition to promoting opportunities in the construction sector amongst young people from diverse backgrounds, City Building is helping two best friends and two brothers take their first steps on the career ladder.

Best friends Adam Caddell and Cameron Barrett (both 17) met on the football pitch aged eight. After attending secondary school together, the pair became inseparable and will now join the same carpentry and joinery apprentice course.

Apprentices Adam Caddell and Cameron Barrett with Councillor Greg Hepburn

Apprentices Adam Caddell and Cameron Barrett with Councillor Greg Hepburn

Adam and Cameron will be joined in the Joinery Programme by brothers Lewis (16) and Fraser Scott (19) who were both recruited with support from Wheatley Group which now jointly owns City Building (Glasgow).

While Lewis has entered the training programme straight from school, Fraser already has a taste for working life having spent the past few years in retail. Both brothers will now be taking on this new challenge together.

The boys are one of the first to join City Building as apprentices since Wheatley Group became a joint owner of City Building (Glasgow) in March 2017. The organisation has since strengthened its apprentice programme, which is already one of the most successful of its kind in Scotland. It has developed new training resources and is attracting school leavers through various channels including Glasgow City Council’s Glasgow Guarantee Initiative and the Wheatley Foundation, Wheatley Group’s charitable trust.

City Building offers apprenticeships in a variety of disciplines, including electrical engineering, joinery, painting and decorating, plumbing and carpentry. It achieves a pass out rate of 94% – almost a third higher than the sector average.

Apprentices Fraser and Lewis Scott

Apprentices Fraser and Lewis Scott

Gordon Sloan, chair of City Building (Glasgow), said: “With around 245 apprentices already on the payroll City Building offers excellent employment opportunities and helps construct bright futures for young men and women pursuing a career in construction. Joining forces with Wheatley Group has only worked to strengthen the opportunities we offer across Glasgow.

“Many of these new recruits will go on to deliver vital work across the city, including in maintenance and repairs services. By investing in the next generation of tradespeople, we are strengthening our commitment to the hundreds of tenants who rely on us and ensure that we are effectively equipped to meet their needs.”

Councillor Greg Hepburn from Glasgow City Council said: “City Building plays an important role in furthering the education and training of Glasgow’s young tradespeople.

“As one of the country’s largest construction firms, it has developed very successful apprentice programme which sees almost all students leave with the relevant qualifications.

“It also continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to furthering diversity within the industry, employing almost 20% of all female craft apprenticeships in Scotland, and it is fantastic to see that this year’s intake is once again representative of the many different faces of society.”

Glasgow Housing Association wins top European business award

Bernadette Hewitt

Bernadette Hewitt

Scotland’s largest social landlord has been awarded one of Europe’s most prestigious prizes for business excellence.

Glasgow Housing Association received the European Foundation for Quality Management’s 2017 Global Excellence Award at a ceremony in Madrid last week.

The award pitted GHA against top private, public and non-profit organisations, ranging from technology giant Bosch and a Polish automotive industry manufacturer to a renowned Austrian health care provider and a Turkish municipality.

GHA was one of three organisations who were presented with the Global Excellence award.

Bosch Group’s Blaichach/Immenstadt plant in Germany and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority also achieved the top prize.

GHA, part of Wheatley Group, was assessed earlier this year by a team of experts from across Europe.

The EFQM assessors spent a week analysing performance in all areas and interviewing everyone from Wheatley Chief Executive Martin Armstrong to housing and environmental staff.

GHA Tenant Chair Bernadette Hewitt received the award on Thursday night on behalf of GHA.

She said: “It is an absolute privilege to accept the Global Excellence Award on behalf of GHA’s 950 staff.

“To win alongside world-famous names such as Bosch, is quite incredible.”

She added: “I offer my warmest congratulations to GHA’s wonderful frontline and support staff and thank them all for the excellent work they do daily for tenants across Glasgow.”

Over 30,000 organisations across Europe have adopted the EFQM management framework.

To be considered for an award, organisations must have – like GHA – Five-Star Recognised for Excellence accreditation. GHA won the EFQM’s Leading with Vision, Inspiration and Integrity award in 2013 and Building Organisational Capability in 2016.

Wheatley Group Chief Executive Martin Armstrong, said: “GHA has won a string of national and international awards over the years. This latest one tops the lot. It is welcome recognition for the passion and expertise GHA staff bring to their jobs every day and their ground-breaking ‘Think Yes’ attitude.”

Keepmoat named preferred housing developer for next phase of £250m Sighthill regeneration

Sighthill new 2Glasgow City Council has announced the appointment of Keepmoat Homes as its preferred developer for the provision of more than 800 new homes through the residential development at the Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area (TRA) in the city.

The residential development will feature 826 new homes (628 for sale, 198 for mid-market rent), as well as retail units and a commercial development over the next decade to complete the regeneration of Sighthill.

The new mid-market rent homes will be built by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) and let and managed by GHA’s partners in Wheatley Group, Lowther Homes, with the private homes, retail unit and commercial development being delivered through a development agreement between Keepmoat Homes and Glasgow City Council.

Sighthill 2When complete, the regeneration of Sighthill, the biggest such project in the UK outside of London, will deliver almost 1000 (141 new GHA homes are already built and occupied) new high-quality homes for sale and rent; a new community school campus; a new footbridge across the M8, creating a ‘street in the sky’ to connect Sighthill to the neighbouring city centre; a new road bridge across the railway to link Sighthill and Port Dundas; as well as improved parkland throughout the entire area, active travel routes to and from the city centre, allotments and public spaces.

Keepmoat Homes became the preferred developer after a competitive dialogue process, with two excellent final bids submitted in August before the final decision in late September.

Councillor Kenny McLean, city convener for neighbourhoods, housing and public realm, said: “This is a historic day for Sighthill and Glasgow. The appointment of Keepmoat Homes as our preferred developer to deliver new homes, shops and a commercial development in Sighthill marks the next step for the regeneration of Sighthill. This area, immediately to the north of the city centre, has fantastic potential, and I am sure it will become an example of regeneration to follow in the years to come. I would like to thank all those organisations involved in the process, and I am delighted with the quality of the proposals put in front of us. This quality gives me great confidence in the future success of this project.”

Sighthill newTom Barclay, Wheatley Group director of property and development, said: “The new mid-market development helps us increase the supply of much-needed affordable homes in the city and will be a key part in the transformation of the area. It’s an exciting time for Sighthill and we’ll be working closely with the local community and our partners at the city council and the Scottish Government as the plans progress.”

Sighthill and Glasgow will also gain from this regeneration project through a community benefits programme from Keepmoat Homes that will deliver 62 new jobs through modern apprenticeships, graduates and new entrants; 45 new jobs on the construction project; support for 46 existing apprenticeships; and 82 work placements.

This community benefits programme will also involve education and training support; a commitment to a minimum value in sub-contracts to SMEs and social enterprises; events to support the supply chain; the support of 10 disadvantaged groups over a seven-year period; and a commitment to spending at least £20,000 on local engagement through community initiatives, digital inclusion and a local development trust.

Sighthill new 3At present, the most visible sign of Sighthill’s regeneration are the 141 modern, spacious, energy-efficient homes built by GHA in 2015, and the demolition of the high-rise blocks across the site.

Other key dates to note regarding key elements of the project include the imminent completion of remediation work; the delivery of infrastructure works – including new utilities, public realm and the public park – by late 2019; the building of a new community campus school by October 2019; the construction of a new road bridge across the Glasgow-Edinburgh railway line, to be complete by late 2018; and the delivery of the M8 pedestrian bridge by late 2019.

The regeneration of Sighthill is being delivered by Transforming Communities: Glasgow, a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association and the Scottish Government, with additional funding from the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Work begins on affordable homes for new West Lothian town

(from left) West Lothian Council leader, Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick; WLHP chair John M Hill, and Councillor George Paul, West Lothian Council’s executive councillor for services to the community

(from left) West Lothian Council leader, Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick; WLHP chair John M Hill, and Councillor George Paul, West Lothian Council’s executive councillor for services to the community

Work has started on almost 100 homes for social rent in a sought-after development on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

West Lothian Housing Partnership (WLHP), part of Wheatley Group, and West Lothian Council are together building a total of 96 new affordable homes as part of the major expansion of Winchburgh village.

The new homes are part of the £1 billion redevelopment and expansion of Winchburgh. It will see the historic village transformed with a new town centre – the first in West Lothian since the 1960s – as well as new schools, healthcare facilities, leisure and play areas and up to 3450 new homes over the next 20 years.

WLHP is building 55 homes for social rent on the site, a mix of 36 flats and 19 terraced family homes, while West Lothian Council is adding another 41. WLHP’s £7 million development is part-funded by a £3m grant from the Scottish Government. The 55 WLHP homes are due to be finished at the end of 2018.

West Lothian Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick and WLHP chair John M Hill visited the site to see how the homes were taking shape.

Councillor Fitzpatrick, and John M Hill with representatives from West Lothian Council, Wheatley Group and McTaggart Construction

Councillor Fitzpatrick, and John M Hill with representatives from West Lothian Council, Wheatley Group and McTaggart Construction

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “West Lothian Council is building 1,000 new council homes and, since 2009, we have built more council homes than any other local authority in Scotland.

“Winchburgh is one of West Lothian’s core development areas and a key part of the area’s expansion is to provide affordable housing council housing for local people. We are delighted that the construction of these new homes is under way and look forward to seeing local people move into these much needed affordable homes in the near future.”

Mr Hill added: “We’re delighted to be building our first homes in Winchburgh and to work in partnership with West Lothian Council to deliver these much needed new homes.

“Social housing is an important part of any development, and means everyone has the chance to share in the success of this new town. West Lothian Housing Partnership is proud to play its part in shaping Winchburgh Village for generations to come.”

The project is part of WLHP’s plans to almost double its’ housing stock between 2017 and 2021. A further 42 homes for mid-market rent are currently being built at Jarvey Street in Bathgate.

The homes are close to the village primary and nursery schools, shops and doctors surgery.

The project has also boosted employment in the area, with three jobs already created, and a further four apprenticeship places to come at contractor McTaggart.

Gary Climson, managing director of McTaggart Construction, said: “We are currently building homes for social rent across West Lothian, for both Wheatley and the Council, and value the partnership we have built together. Our Sustainable Communities Programme is generating training and employment opportunities for local people, ensuring this project delivers benefit to the community beyond bricks and mortar.”

Wheatley rolls out new £33m tenant-designed repairs service

Gordon Sloan and Lorraine Starrs, head of asset management for City Building (Glasgow); Gordon Dillon, head of operations for City Building (Glasgow); Alan Burns, deputy exec director of City Building; painter and decorator Macauley Wood; and joiners Naveed Mohammed and Christopher Murray

Gordon Sloan and Lorraine Starrs, head of asset management for City Building (Glasgow); Gordon Dillon, head of operations for City Building (Glasgow); Alan Burns, deputy exec director of City Building; painter and decorator Macauley Wood; and joiners Naveed Mohammed and Christopher Murray

A new improved £33 million repairs service is being rolled out to thousands of tenants and factored homeowners in the west of Scotland following Wheatley becoming joint owner of City Building (Glasgow) earlier this year.

The new venture with Glasgow City Council is providing repairs, maintenance and investment work to Wheatley’s social landlords in the west of Scotland – GHA, Cube and Loretto Housing – as well as the Group’s mid-market commercial subsidiary, Lowther Homes, and its property management company, YourPlace.

Tenant feedback has shaped the new repairs model, with pathfinder pilots being carried out across Glasgow and neighbouring areas to find out what tenants wanted.

Gordon Sloan, the new chair of City Building (Glasgow), said: “Tenants are telling us what they want – a responsive, efficient and more locally-based repairs service – and that’s just what we are providing.”

Mr Sloan, the former chair of GHA, Scotland’s largest social landlord, added: “The new venture enables Wheatley to be even better equipped to match and exceed customers’ needs and expectations.

“It is exciting watching the new service being rolled out and hearing the positive early feedback we are receiving from tenants and factored homeowners.”

The new venture, which employs 2000 staff, is responsible for Wheatley’s annual housing repairs budget of £33m and an annual investment budget of £27m, as well as £30m of repairs annually for Glasgow City Council.

Councillor Greg Hepburn, vice-chair of City Building (Glasgow), said: “This new venture with Wheatley Group will only serve to strengthen our economic and social contributions, as we work in partnership with its management team to grow and deliver improved services for the people of Glasgow.”

Wheatley unveils £65m private investment deal

Pictured with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are (from left) GHA chair Bernadette Hewitt, retired  tram conductress Catherine Mulrine, GHA tenant Marilyn Cunningham and Joe Murray who secured a job on the Govan site

Pictured with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are (from left) GHA chair Bernadette Hewitt, retired tram conductress Catherine Mulrine, GHA tenant Marilyn Cunningham and Joe Murray who secured a job on the Govan site

Affordable homes provider Wheatley Group has secured a further £65 million of private investment.

The new funding, in the form of a new five-year revolving credit facility with Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland, takes the amount raised by Wheatley in the past three years to over £500m.

Richard Hughes, relationship director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Wheatley’s development programme will see thousands of homes delivered in parts of Scotland with some of the most acute need for affordable housing. Our funding will help to ensure Wheatley can continue to provide high-quality homes and care across the country and forms part of our pledge to help Britain’s housing providers prosper with £500m of new funding during 2017.”

Ian Sillars, head of housing finance Scotland & North, Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “The need to build new affordable housing in Scotland is well recognised and Wheatley Housing Group plays a vital role in helping develop new homes for people in key employer towns and cities across the country. As a bank we are delighted to extend our long-term relationship with Wheatley Housing Group and to provide additional funding to support the development of new affordable homes which will contribute towards meeting the national target of 50,000 new homes.”

The announcement came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited tenants of 105 new flats and terraced houses which are being developed by Wheatley’s largest partner organisation, GHA, and its commercial subsidiary, Lowther Homes, on the site of the former Govan Tram Depot in the MSP’s Glasgow Southside constituency.

The development is part of Wheatley’s rolling programme of 3500 new affordable homes and is a direct result of a major fundraising drive that so far has involved securing:

  • £65m just announced from Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland;
  • £100m of private finance from the world’s largest fund manager Blackrock in May this year;
  • £50m in 2015 to develop Lowther Homes’ portfolio from Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland;
  • and £300m of bond finance from the London capital markets in 2014.

GHA chair Bernadette Hewitt said: “This outstanding development features great new homes for social rent, coupled with attractive mid-market apartments in the restored and refurbished tram depot.

“It’s an excellent example of how GHA, Lowther and Wheatley are playing their parts in Glasgow and across Scotland to address the acute need for new energy-efficient, affordable homes.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “Access to good quality housing is a vital part of our drive to secure economic growth, promote social justice, strengthen communities and tackle inequalities. That’s why this government is investing more than £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes – 35,000 for social rent – over the lifetime of this Parliament. It’s fantastic to see an old building being redeveloped as part of the affordable programme, and directly benefiting local residents like Marilyn.”

The historic Govan site, which takes in Brand Street, Harvie Street and Clutha Street, comprises 85 homes for social rent by GHA and 20 mid-market flats in the refurbished former red sandstone tram office which are let and managed by Lowther Homes. The site, which had lain derelict for years, was a tram depot in the early 1900s. Rows of tram sheds behind the depot offices were later used as trolley bus garages before the site became a car pound for Strathclyde Police in the 1990s. The sheds were later demolished.

The homes were built for GHA by contractors Cruden Building & Renewals Ltd and designed by Collective Architecture. The £11m development was part funded by Scottish Government grant of £5.5m and by the funding raised by Wheatley Group on the bond market in 2014.

Wheatley chair Alastair MacNish said: “The Glasgow development visited by the First Minister today represents another notable milestone in Scotland’s largest affordable homes building programme.

“It is our intention to return to the capital markets in the next couple of years and to develop other means of securing additional private finance to continue funding our ambitious house-building programme across Scotland, from West Dunbartonshire through Glasgow to Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

£3.7bn City Building and Wheatley joint venture officially launched

(from left) GHA chair, Bernadette Hewitt, Christopher Conn, apprentice joiner at City Building, City Building managing director, Graham Paterson, Nicole Woodburn, apprentice joiner at City Building, and Morag Johnston, executive director of financial services for Glasgow City Council

(from left) GHA chair, Bernadette Hewitt, Christopher Conn, apprentice joiner at City Building, City Building managing director, Graham Paterson, Nicole Woodburn, apprentice joiner at City Building, and Morag Johnston, executive director of financial services for Glasgow City Council

A new £3.7 billion joint venture (JV) between Wheatley Group and Glasgow City Council launched this week with a pledge to provide a modern, localised and even more efficient repairs and maintenance service to thousands of affordable housing tenants.

On April 1, Wheatley became a 50/50 joint owner with the local authority of City Building (Glasgow).

The JV will provide repairs and investment work to Wheatley’s Registered Social Landlords in the west of Scotland – GHA, Cube and Loretto – as well as the Group’s mid-market commercial housing subsidiary, Lowther Homes, and its property management company, YourPlace.

Bernadette Hewitt, chair of GHA, said the JV represented “an exciting opportunity to take the repairs and maintenance service to the next level”.

She added: “Tenant feedback has played a major part in shaping what will be a modern, more efficient service provided by locally-based repairs teams closer to their customers.

“The joint process review designing this new, improved service will ensure it is even better equipped to match and exceed customers’ needs and expectations.”

The JV, which will employ more than 2000 staff, will be responsible for Wheatley’s annual housing repairs budget of £33 million and annual investment budget of £27m, as well as carrying out £30m of repairs annually on behalf of the city council.

The GHA tenant chair added: “The launch of the JV is a very important milestone on our journey to achieving customer-service excellence.

“Customer research has shown consistently over many years the vast majority of tenants and factored homeowners appreciate the very good repairs service provided. Our aim in taking forward this JV with Glasgow City Council is to consolidate and further improve that customer satisfaction.”

Annemarie O’Donnell, chief executive of Glasgow City Council, said: “This ground-breaking partnership will build on the significant and positive impact City Building has already had on Glasgow over the last decade – delivering jobs, training and first-rate services for communities and tenants.

“We are securing 2,000 jobs and more than 2,000 apprenticeships for at least 30 years, including work for people with disabilities, through the RSBi workshop. The deal also delivers a £180 million investment in training and skills.

“That is a huge boost for the whole city, its economy and its people.”

Dr. Graham Paterson, executive director of City Building, said “The excellent skills, dedication and commitment of our workforce will bring added value to Wheatley Group customers.”

The JV will aim to recruit 60 apprentices per year over the next five years, with 35 of those apprentices coming from Wheatley communities.

Last month Wheatley and City Building launched a double recruitment drive for new apprentices, with Wheatley looking for 30 new Modern Apprentices and City Building taking on 60 trades apprentices.