Former service veterans are being drafted in to help build military charity Haig Housing’s biggest new build development in the UK since the 1950s.
As the first bricks were laid, contractor United Living pledged to employ local veterans during the construction of the new 68-home development which aims to help tackle the affordable housing shortage facing the nation’s ex-service men and women.
Residents Pauline Burroughs and Charles Glover joined Haig Housing’s Chief Executive James Richardson and United Living’s Chief Operating Officer Stuart Laird at an official ceremony to mark the start of the build.
Mrs Burroughs and Mr Glover live in Haig Housing properties adjacent to the new site; Mrs Burrows has lived as a Haig resident in Morden for 46 years while Mr Glover’s son has just recently passed out of AFC Harrogate and is following his father’s footsteps into the army.
Each property on the new build, in Morden – located on the site of Rhode’s Moorhouse Court which is Haig’s largest estate in South London – will be made available for rent for former service personnel.
Haig Housing receives approximately 1,000 applications for housing each year, of which it has the ability to help around one in seven applicants. In London, this ratio rises to 1 in 12 as the prevalent cost of private housing and long waiting lists for social housing, makes securing affordable accommodation extremely difficult for veterans and their families.
The mix of properties from one-bedroom apartments up to four bedroom houses, will be made available for social rent in a location where affordable housing is often hard to find, due to the high cost of living in the capital. Ex-forces individuals and families will be able to rent the homes from June 2019.
Haig Housing is the UK’s leading provider of general needs housing for ex-service personnel. United Living was appointed last year to build the new development and has pledged to employ local veterans in the business.
To mark the occasion, United Living presented Haig Housing with a commemorative trowel which will go on display throughout development.
The scheme is part funded by the Veterans’ Accommodation Fund, which also provided funding for Haig Housing to expand into Colchester, Aldershot and Scotland. This new development follows the recent completion of eight, one-bedroom homes at Parry Court, Morden, and Haig Housing’s award-winning partnership big build in Manchester.
James Richardson, chief executive of Haig Housing, said:
“This is the first brick in our largest single building programme since the fifties. It marks a significant point in a concerted period of construction that will add 68 new homes to our Morden estate.”
Stuart Laird, chief operating officer at United Living, said:
“Rhodes Moorhouse Court is a prestigious development and we’re extremely proud to be constructing these new homes in partnership with Haig Housing. United Living brings plenty of expertise in delivering projects like this, having previously delivered construction training for ex-military personnel on projects and building sites across the country. We see this as another very worthy cause and we’re now in the process of accelerating efforts to recruit more ex-service personnel to help deliver this project.”