£0.5m loan to help Tadpole Farm homes plan swim
TADPOLE Farm’s ambitious housing development will get a boost as one of nine projects nationally to receive a share of £1bn.
The 1,695 home expansion has been chosen to benefit from a loan of at least half a million pounds to develop infrastructure in the autumn statement on Thursday.
The loan will go to developers Crest Strategic Projects, who will begin repayments in 2015.
After being shortlisted for investment in March, Tadpole Farm was selected along with sites in Aylesbury, Rushmoor, Dartford, Milton Keynes, Newark, Leeds, Blaby and Manchester.
The money is being found as part of the Local Infrastructure Fund, and is secured against assets of the developer.
Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, said the money would help speed construction and make the development more attractive.
“It is about the importance of being able to get the right infrastructure in place at the beginning rather than at the end of development,” he said.
“It will be a huge boost to residents and improve the quality of the development.
“Infrastructure is generally put forward partly funded by contributions of section 106 money agreed by the developers.
“But the problem we have is we need to build enough first to be able to realise that money.
“We need money from houses to pay for infrastructure. This fund allows people to borrow against future 106 money. You can then use that money straight away to build the proper infrastructure right at the beginning.”
Because of the shortage in primary school places in Swindon, the council have requested the school at Tadpole Farm to be built before any houses so it could open next September.
“It is better for the development because people will be more inclined to move where there are facilities,” added Mr Tomlinson.
“If you look at the Wichelstowe development, it has been blighted as not enough houses have been sold. Key infrastructure has not been built but is needed right away to make the development more attractive.”
Ian Jenkinson, chairman of Blunsdon Parish Council, said: “It is brilliant to think they may be able to start key parts of the development early.
“We have had feedback from residents expressing dismay at the developers planning to use Lady Lane and Tadpole Lane as a haulage road.
“They want the school built by September 2014. Crest were saying they would not be able to build the road in time to give access to the building site. If this money is for infrastructure it would be fantastic if they could access the road built, but we must wait to see what the planning committee say.
“If you look at Redhouse, we are still awaiting key bits of infrastructure. If this speeds that along it can only be a good thing.”
A spokesman for the Treasury said: “The Tadpole Farm project is now entering a due diligence process, as they have asked for loans to fund infrastructure.”
Crest Strategic projects were unavailable for comment.
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