A UK Government guarantee to the value of £86 million will allow a major development in Aberdeen to go ahead that will deliver new housing, schools, healthcare and parks.
Countesswells will comprise 3,000 homes, of which 750 will be affordable, along with the infrastructure required to support the community that will include schools, informal and formal parks, leisure and healthcare facilities. The development will be phased over 15 years, boosting the local economy and supporting 1,000 construction jobs in the region.
Announcing the UK Government guarantee in Aberdeen, Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop said it was ‘a vote of confidence in the North East’.
The UK Guarantee works by providing a state-backed guarantee to help projects access finance. The guarantee will enable funds to be raised from the Capital Markets, issued as revolving Loan Notes, to support the £1b infrastructure project at Countesswells. The Funder for the Countesswells development will be Bank of Scotland, who has worked alongside Stewart Milne Group and HMT to create long term lending for the life of the project.
Speaking in Aberdeen, Andrew Dunlop said:
The UK Government is offering this guarantee to allow this major Aberdeen project to go ahead. This is a great example of partnership working where the government can unlock the capital and the potential of the development.
This part of Scotland is facing some stiff challenges but today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the North East by the UKGovernment and those involved in the project.’
John Slater, Group Managing Director Homes:
We are delighted that through HM Treasury, we have been successful in securing a Guarantee to support the delivery of Countesswells. It is a critical project for the city over the next 15 years, delivering much needed homes and community facilities that in turn will compliment Aberdeen’s economic growth.
We have worked for many years to bring Countesswells forward and the 3000 new homes will play a major part in meeting the housing needs of the city and the aspirations of the local community.
Countesswells is an important project that will deliver a vibrant new community for Aberdeen that will include 3 new schools, medical facilities, leisure, retail, commercial & business accommodation and a wide range of homes, from first time buyer apartments and young family homes to townhouses and executive villas, all contributing to Aberdeen’s attractiveness as a place in which to live and work.
Alasdair Gardner, Bank of Scotland Regional Managing Director Scotland - Commercial Banking said:
The Countesswells development is a key project for Aberdeen and the North East and we are delighted to be working with the UK Government to fund it. We are committed to supporting the housebuilding sector and this deal demonstrates one of the innovative funding options that is available to help build the many new homes Scotland needs.
Planning permission in principle for Countesswells was granted by Aberdeen City Council in October 2014, subject to final agreement on developer contributions for infrastructure, and detailed planning consent for the first phase of infrastructure was subsequently granted by the local authority.
Mobilisation and compound facilities will start this month and infrastructure works will begin in April with first homes available later this year.