Seddon wins £60m contract to build 700 affordable homes
CONSTRUCTION firm Seddon has landed a £60 million contract to build 700 new affordable homes.
The company, which employs around 150 people in Stoke-on-Trent, has been appointed by housing group Sanctuary to build the homes in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle, Telford and Wrekin, Herefordshire, north Shropshire, Worcester and Cherwell over the next four years.
Seddon estimates it will take on 40 new apprentices over the course of the project.
The scheme is part of a £500 million investment from Worcester-based Sanctuary, which will create more than 3,600 new homes across England.
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It is getting underway after the group received almost £90 million from the Government's Homes and Communities Agency via its Affordable Homes Programme.
Seddon managing director Jonathan Seddon, pictured, said: "We are delighted to be working with Sanctuary to deliver much-needed new affordable homes and create job and training opportunities in local communities.
"The company has a long and successful history of apprentice recruitment and it is particularly satisfying to be starting the Sanctuary programme in 2012, the year in which we mark Seddon's 75th anniversary of taking on apprentices."
Sentinel Business reported in January that Seddon had pledged to take on 75 apprentices this year to mark the anniversary.
Earlier this month, Seddon announced it was teaming up with Shelton social enterprise PM Training to create up to 50 further new apprenticeships and work placements.
The partnership will encourage Seddon's supply chain to offer work experience placements and apprenticeships to disadvantaged young people from across Staffordshire.
A launch event at Keele University was attended by more than 60 sub-contractors.
Seddon Group, which turns over more than £250 million a year, is based in Holmes Chapel, but Seddon Construction has a base in Fenton, and the group's property services division is also based in the town.
It employs more than 2,000 people nationwide.
Sanctuary has appointed Keepmoat in Doncaster to build 400 homes in Yorkshire and Humberside as part of the same scheme.
Peter Martin, Sanctuary's group director for development, said: "These important appointments will bring a vital boost to local economies at sites across the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, and result in the delivery of more than a thousand affordable homes by 2015.
"Creating employment opportunities is a key priority for Sanctuary, which is why we have selected partners that share our aims."
A spokesman for Sanctuary said it was too early to confirm how many of the homes will be built in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle, or give details of their exact locations.
Dr Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation in Stoke, said the project could also have benefits for its members.
She said: "There is a real shortage of housing, particularly affordable housing across the UK.
"Moreover, recent research has shown that every pound spent on construction generates almost £3 in economic activity, so this is a proven way to help boost recovery.
"To make these homes affordable for occupants in the long-term it is important that durable, low maintenance construction products are used.
"UK-manufactured ceramic materials, such as clay drainage pipes, bricks, clay roof tiles, wall tiles and sanitaryware have a critical role to play."