Affordable Housing Solutions

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Affordable Housing Solutions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.ah-solutions.com

1AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS |
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2021
Director Peter Hibbert
Paddington Waterside, London
- one of the many high-profile
projects we’ve been involved in
Based in Hammersmith, west London, Affordable
Housing Solutions is an independent housing expert that
works alongside property developers and land owners.
Committed to facilitating the highest-quality projects, it has
developed a team of specialists within the field who enable it
to provide a range of tailored solutions. Director Peter Hibbert
explains how the firm offers a best-in-class service.
Client satisfaction and quality are at the centre of our offering, and we deploy the
fullest range of specialist affordable housing services to meet this pledge on every
project. With a team of experienced surveyors and planners, we have been supporting
the property development industry in London and the UK for over adecade.
Our origins
Prior to establishing Affordable Housing Solutions in 2002, I was assistant chief
executive of the Network Group in northwest London and responsible for the
development of new homes. At the time I was delivering around 1,000 affordable
homes a year and taking part in a series of innovative joint ventures. I could see
that the political landscape surrounding the industry was changing and I decided
to establish an advisory consultancy for property developers that were struggling to
adapt. Acting as an interface with local planning authorities and providing expertise
and technical knowledge, our role has evolved and broadened since ourfoundation.
As a company, we possess an overarching view of how the development process
works from a housing association and a developer’s point of view. We are able
to form a vital bridge between two different working cultures. Our philosophy is
FACTS ABOUT
AFFORDABLE HOUSING
SOLUTIONS
»Directors: Peter Hibbert and
Anna Booth
»Established in 2002
»Based inHammersmith,
London
»Services:Independent
affordable housing
consultancy
»No. of employees: 12
(including freelance)
Affordable Housing
Solutions
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS
that people do business with people,
and so an emphasis on establishing
and maintaining responsive business
relationships is a key characteristic of
our working culture; and it is our work
as a practical interface that has made
us successful.
Setting ourselves apart
We have been involved in numerous
high-profile projects in London, with
Paddington Waterside, one of the
largest central London developments
since the Second World War, being
particularly notable. The overarching
project created around 10 million
square feet (930,000 m2) of space
between 1998 and 2018. We have
been with key members of the
European Land and Property team, a
leading member of the Paddington
Waterside Partnership, as a main
consultant in the provision of new
affordable housing for over a decade,
and have been involved in a number
of different projects within the
overalldevelopment.
We have carved out a niche as a
facilitator between local authorities
and overseas developers, and fulfilled
this role with particular success on
the Multiplex scheme in Elephant and
Castle between 2010 and 2012. The
firm played a similar role in securing
planning consent for the iconic One
Blackfriars, on the South Bank, while
we have also worked on projects as
diverse as the former Leicester City
football ground at Filbert Street and
the regeneration of the Old Bristol
Brewery. Currently our work includes
several phases of the Millbrook Park
regeneration scheme in Mill Hill with
our client Poly Global, where over
2,000 new homes are being developed
alongside a range of community
facilities, including the new Millbrook
Park Primary School, and almost six
hectares of parks and openspace.
As a small company, we are keen
to manage our overheads and have
successfully worked to retain our
core staff team. Part of our retention
strategy has been our willingness to
be flexible. Some members of staff
work in freelance roles, assisting us
on selected projects. This has allowed
us to flex our resources in accordance
with the demands of particular
projects. We are able to draw on a
wide pool of extremely experienced
individuals and ensure that our clients
are not missing out on any of the
necessary skills or knowledge base as
we move forward.
Adapting to a changing
environment
Our sector has been greatly impacted
by the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017.
There are new safety standards being
introduced for our clients, in all the
residential and mixed use schemes
we are involved in. Of course, these
concerns need to be expeditiously
addressed, but it has also impacted
on the ability of some housing
1 Pitshanger Ealing - a
new build mixed tenure
project
As a company,
we possess an
overarching
view of how
the
development
process works
from a housing
association or
developer’s
point of view
3AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS |
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2021
associations to deliver new affordable
homes. In some cases, as much as 50
per cent of new affordable homes
delivery has been delayed as a result
of funds being redirected, in order to
upgrade existing buildings.
As the amount of government capital
grant per new affordable home has
been reduced over the years, housing
associations have relied on the
strength of their own balance sheets
to deliver new homes. Consequently,
they become increasingly loaded with
loan debt from traditional banking
and bond sources, or have looked to
cross-subsidise new affordable housing
by accepting the commercial risks that
attach to building market housing
for sale. Going forward, there needs
to be more focused thought as to
how housing associations will access
funding, so that the number of new
affordable homes can be optimised
without exposing themselves to
unacceptable levels of risk.
The impact of Covid-19 on our
business will be difficult to determine
immediately, due to the long lead-in
time on our projects. In fact, 2020
was one of our best years to date as
a business and we have managed
to operate as closely to normal as
possible. Going forward, we will
remain wary of the pandemic’s long-
term impact, but at this stage we
appear to have been rather fortunate.
However, with the uncertainties
surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from
the European Union and the ongoing
financial impact of Covid-19, the
impact of rising unemployment on the
economics of house building could be
damaging for our business and the
property sector as a whole.
Our business model remains strong,
though, and as a small, nimble
organisation, I remain confident in our
ability to adapt and change direction.
We are already moving forward with a
number of new ventures, including an
exciting new mixed tenure scheme at
1 Pitshanger, Ealing, being developed
by our sister company, Base Green
Holdings, and I am confident that we
will be able to pivot as necessary.
Our work
includes several
phases of the
Millbrook Park
regeneration
scheme in Mill
Hill, where over
2,000 new
homes are being
developed
Millbrook Park, Mill Hill

www.ah-solutions.com

This article was sponsored by Affordable Housing Solutions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy