A Bedfordshire housing association has completed the purchase of 4.06 acres to develop 100 new homes as part of a new 650-acre urban village being created near Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire.

The £4.75m deal will see bpha create 49 shared ownership and 51 affordable properties for rent comprising a mix of apartments and houses ranging from one bedroom through to three bedroom homes.

Work to build the homes is due to commence in April 2022, with the first homes being completed by August 2023. Completion of the development is anticipated in October 2024.

As part of the deal bpha will also deliver three retail units offering locally run shops, in line with Linmere’s 20-minute neighbourhood strategy meaning that residents will never be more than a 20-minute walk or cycle ride away from community facilities, shops, schools and green spaces.

Jeff Astle, Executive Director of Development and Sales at bpha said “We are very pleased to have acquired this site at Linmere and look forward to developing a high-quality scheme of much needed homes for shared ownership and affordable rent in this most sustainable location. We are grateful to Homes England for its financial support to ensure that the scheme can progress and we will be submitting a Reserved Matters Planning application to Central Bedfordshire Council shortly. With an anticipated start on site in April 2022, we will be seeking a construction partner before the end of this year”.

The scheme will contribute to bpha’s development plans to deliver 3,000 new dwellings over the next five years across the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, where the organisation currently owns or manages around 19,500 homes.

The bpha homes are the latest affordable properties to be announced at the new Linmere development, which is being created over the next 15 years by the Houghton Regis Management Company (HRMC), a consortium comprising master developers Lands Improvement, Aviva Investors, and the Diocese of St Albans.

Linmere development director Nigel Reid said: “We’re delighted to welcome bpha to the Linmere fold. With our focus on creating communities, the one hundred well designed tenure-blind affordable homes it is going to build will play a key role in ensuring we offer something for everyone. The site will also complement our ethos of ensuring that every single resident is only ever five minutes away from an open green space and needs to travel no further than 20 minutes on foot or bicycle to reach a shop selling everyday essentials.”

The first homes at Linmere will be available for occupation in the autumn.

Around a third of the 650 acres will not be developed, with 90 acres of this being formal public open space. The rest will be managed land, allowing natural habitats to thrive. The development will offer a combination of parkland, wildlife corridors, allotments, sports pitches, play areas and walking routes linking the new village with surrounding countryside and rural settlements.  Cycle paths and cycle-friendly roads will crisscross the development and Linmere will also link in with the national cycle network.

Linmere will see the creation of 5,150 homes over the next 15 years.  Two brand new state of the art primary schools and an extension to Houghton Regis’ existing Thornhill Primary school, due to open this September. A ten-form secondary school will open in September 2022. 

•(caption) Housing Association bpha has purchased 4.06 acres on which to build 100 tenure-blind affordable houses at Linmere, in a £4.75m deal.