30 November 2017

Oakfield: Investing in housing

In the next few years Nationwide will be shaping a significant housing project, with the aim to construct homes in Swindon, at a site just three miles from their head office.

The area is known locally as Oakfield Campus: a brownfield site once occupied by the University of Bath, allocated for housing by the local council in 2015.

The development is intended to deliver long-lasting benefits and meet local housing needs.

Working with local people

Nationwide will work with the local community to decide on the number and mix of properties to be built. Provisionally, the plan is to start building in 2019.

Nationwide has employed a community organiser Keith Brown to find out what kind of homes local people need by knocking on doors, conducting surveys and hosting events.

A new approach to the housing crisis

Members have steered Nationwide in this direction in response to the challenges currently facing society.

In the media there is talk of a 'UK housing crisis' – house prices soaring out of reach of ordinary people looking to get on the housing ladder.

This has been fuelled by the lack of homes built in the past few decades to keep up with population growth.

The general consensus is that at least 250,000 new homes are needed each year, though Chancellor Philip Hammond recently went further by calling for 300,000 to be built in England.

Nationwide's intentions

Nationwide is committed to working with existing local community initiatives as part of this regeneration project.

Joe Garner, Nationwide’s Chief Executive, said:

“Building on our housing heritage, our mutual purpose, and our founding principle that people can achieve more together than they can alone, we aim to show that it’s possible to develop quality homes at fair prices.

By challenging existing practice in just a small way here in Swindon and ensuring the views of locals shape our development, we hope to make an innovative contribution to the national housing debate.”

Other projects

Nationwide members aren't just spearheading Swindon's Oakfield Campus development. This is part of a five-year social investment programme in which at least 1% of Nationwide's pre-tax profits go to good causes.

Nationwide plans to spend over £20m from now until 2022 to help communities tackle housing issues.

The society is providing grants of up to £50,000 for housing projects across the North of England as part of its Community Funding programme. This will be rolled out across the rest of the UK in 2018 and 2019.

Nationwide also has a charity arm called the Nationwide Foundation, which works to tackle disadvantage, poverty and inequality. This already helps ease the housing crisis by bringing empty homes back into use.

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