Moor Park Avenue, Preston

Project Manager/Funding Body Liaison

Client : Preston City Council

Funding : £1.19m

Programme : Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC)

Preston City Council own two sites on Moor Park Avenue, within the inner urban part of the city. Hive were instructed to project manage the contracting and project delivery, following an initial shortlisting of the sites under the LAAC programme by Homes England. Hive’s role was to demonstrate that the project was deliverable within the provisionally allocated budget and within the programme deadline.

The LAAC programme was designed to invest funds in LA owned sites, to secure planning permission and undertake the enabling works to de-risk them for the market. This programme was an ideal fit for Stuart and Mark who had a combined 19 years of experience doing just that on land owned by Homes England and its predecessor bodies. Hive’s role involved taking the initial Homes England commissioned package of desk-top due diligence and build on it to put together a team of professionals, a more detailed budget and set of works packages for the enabling works and a comprehensive programme for the delivery of the sites within the funding criteria deadline.

Hive’s tasks on this commission included negotiating contractual terms and milestone dates with Homes England, procuring technical consultant support, programming the full project workstreams, soft market testing and overall management of the contracting process. In addition to the more technical and funding focussed workstreams, Hive also undertook the soft market testing. Despite Homes England’s shortlisting of the project, there was still considerable work to be done to convince government’s housing agency that investment in the site would ultimately deliver the housing that the programme was created to achieve. Hive designed and implemented the soft market testing workstream to engage a range of locally active developers, contractors and Register Providers to gauge their views. Although the approach of the parties differed and their proposed end products varied, the resulting summary report demonstrated to Homes England that there were a range of parties who would take the site on and develop new housing, once the Homes England funded enabling works had been completed.

At the current time, the Funding Agreement is ready to signed, subject only to clarification on the impact of COVID-19 on the programme timescales. When contracted Moor Park Avenue, will be one of a handful of projects that successfully secure LAAC funding the North West.

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