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Keepmoat confirms £198m PFI housing contract

Keepmoat has announced the completion of a £198m PFI contract to improve over 1,000 homes in the centre of Leeds.

The inner city scheme is the company’s first PFI scheme, and will involve 1,245 property refurbishments, 388 new build homes, as well as environmental improvements to the Holbeck, Beeston Hill and Little London areas.

It was delayed after problems with reaching financial close, with slow progress increasing the costs of the project from £180m earlier in the year.

Terms originally proposed for the scheme were deemed “no longer feasible”, and the council was tasked with seeking more advantageous funding options “with very little notice.”

The contract was awarded by Leeds City Council and Sustainable Communities for Leeds, and will see 99 apprenticeships created along with 250 newskilled jobs and 48 work experience positions.

Sc4L was named a preferred bidder in 2010, but the work was delayed during the recession.

A recent public bond issue has put funding in place for the project, and survey teamrs are now expected on site within the next few days and work is due to begin in September.

Keepmoat regeneration director Nick Ash said: “This scheme will make a huge difference to residents and communities in Leeds.

“As well as transforming large swathes of the inner city, this scheme is economically important for Leeds. It will create hundreds of skilled jobs, as well as giving local young people the chance to do apprenticeships and work experience.”

Houses in Holbeck and Beeston Hill were demolished back in 2010 to make way for the improvements.

Keepmoat chief executive Dave Sheridan said: “This contract win is an endorsement of our exceptional track record in successfully transforming communities. As one of Britain’s foremost experts in community regeneration, Keepmoat has proven it can deliver quality and value for money no matter how large or small the scheme.

“In Leeds, we have proven our ability to create alternative financial packages in a tough environment.

“We are currently working on a number of other PFI contracts across the UK as we pursue our commitments to improve British communities and deliver regeneration that works.”

The construction contract is worth £145m over the next three and a half years, with a further £53m in maintenance and repair contracts over the next 20 years.

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