Building society unveils £50m investment for housing project

Britain's biggest building society has given its backing to a multi-million pound housing project.

Nationwide Building Society said a new partnership with Swindon Borough Council will seek to establish a significant community housing project in its home town, including provision for affordable homes.

The Oakfield project, in Swindon, will receive around £50 million in investment from the society across several years, with building expected to start in 2019, subject to planning consent.

The society said the initiative is designed to break even through sales and rentals, and any profit will be reinvested in other Nationwide community projects.

While the community will decide on the scale of the project, the brownfield site could potentially accommodate more than 200 homes.

An initial consultation on key aspects of the development, including green spaces and facilities to benefit the wider community, could last up to six months.

Nationwide said the move, which is part of a wider social investment programme by the society, follows strong feedback from its members that it should support new practical approaches to housing.

It said the initiative does not mean it is becoming a house builder, and this is a one-off project, although elements of it may be replicated elsewhere.

Joe Garner, Nationwide's chief executive, said the move is in line with Nationwide's heritage and its aims as a mutual, adding: "We hope to make an innovative contribution to the national housing debate."

Cllr Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council's cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said the Oakfield campus has been allocated for housing since 2013.

He said: "I'm delighted we've found a fantastic partner in Nationwide Building Society to help deliver local homes in a new way."

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