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Great Homes – Maximising our Investment in Sustainable Homes

At Great Places, we are proud to be one of the leading developing housing associations in the North. Our aim is to maximise our investments in affordable, high quality and sustainable homes, ensuring they meet the needs of customers and enhance local communities.

In 2019/20 we delivered 229 new homes with an additional 698 affordable new homes on-site, sold 258 homes for market sale and shared ownership, and invested £52M to build new homes. We invested a further £9M, which facilitated 2,491 programmed improvements to around 1,900 of our homes and have also spent over £8M in maintaining the condition of our customers’ homes.


It’s been another fantastic year for Plumlife, with 438 property transactions (including 84 market sales on behalf of Cube Homes and 64 sales for external clients), across 12 different developments in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire.  Plumlife generated a turnover of £4.4M, a surplus of £900,000 and maintained a high level of customer satisfaction at 9.4/10.

Plumlife’s key achievements during 2019/20 include:

  • Winning Home Ownership Team of the Year at the National Housing Awards 2019.
  • Being shortlisted for Affordable Home Ownership Team of the Year and Best Off-Plan Development for Foxwood at the 2020 First Time Buyer Awards.
  • Leading the way with innovative marketing techniques, including the launch of Plumlife’s first-ever TV advert which aired on Sky on New Year’s Day.
  • Hosting an ‘off-plan’ sales launch event at the AJ Bell Stadium for three Salford developments, resulting in 69 appointments over two days and 16 reservations.
  • Sponsoring the annual First Time Buyer Home Show, including hosting a Shared Ownership seminar to first time buyers.

Cube Homes

A commercial subsidiary of Great Places with a profit-for-purpose ethos, Cube Homes develops new homes for market sale and market rent. In addition, it also provides private sector tenancy management, block management and estate management for third-party clients. Maintaining development momentum is critical in ensuring Cube Homes can continue to support the wider organisation through continued Gift Aid payments.

Cube Homes’ key achievements during 2019/2020 include:

  • 84 homes sold.
  • A turnover of £17M (up from £5M in 2018/19).
  • Profit before tax of £3.8M (of which £1.75M was Gift Aided to Great Places Housing Association).
  • Investment in the delivery of additional new homes for market sale in the South Yorkshire region through Forge New Homes.
  • Commencement of work on site at our new luxury flagship development of 17 family homes at Fairways View, Prestwich.
  • The creation and roll out of the new Cube Homes’ branding and website.
  • The completion and sale of new homes for market sale at Arkwright Place, Gorton.
  • Construction commencing across 102 plots with a combined potential value of £28M, all of which will support Cube’s market sale ambitions over the next two years.


2019/20 saw the launch of our new Repairs Strategy, which we developed in partnership with colleagues and customers.

Customer satisfaction is our main priority and we want to make sure that our in-house Repairs service is continually delivering an excellent service to customers. Our overall satisfaction scores for the Repairs team achieved a final year-end result of 9/10 from feedback across 3,663 customer responses. Fixing a repair first time is also a priority to ensure repairs are resolved swiftly and there’s minimal inconvenience for customers. To support this priority, we have provided training and support to our colleagues to help them identify and diagnose repairs when first reported, resulting in 89.1% of repairs being genuinely fixed first time.

Supporting job creation and training, our Repairs service continued to deliver an apprenticeship programme in 2019/20, recruiting 10 apprentices across a range of trades. We also launched the Ian Hamill training programme, a lasting legacy to a much-loved Great Places colleague who was tragically killed on his way home from work in 2011. Ian was so passionate about supporting young people that following his death, Ian’s wife left a generous legacy donation to Great Places, which we have used to support our trade apprentices with tools and training.

Distribution Centre

Our Distribution Centre has gone from strength-to-strength, receiving regular plaudits and repeat business from customers and stakeholders.

The success of the Centre also hugely underpinned our excellent response to the Coronavirus pandemic, supporting our frontline colleagues and wider partner organisations with critical PPE equipment to help them to continue delivering services safely and prevent the spread of infection. The centre is now using its successes to develop strong business growth and has already achieved over £50,000 of additional revenue outside of the contract we have with Trafford Housing Trust.

Developments in the Spotlight

Arkwright Place - Gorton

A mixed-tenure development including 101 houses for market sale and 30 for shared ownership, Arkwright Place is one of the largest projects the Group has undertaken to date. By collaborating with Cube Homes to deliver the market-sale homes and with Plumlife as the sales agent, Arkwright Place is a shining example of the potential that Great Places can achieve when working collaboratively.

Kersal Vale - Salford

Kersal Vale is a significant brownfield re-development project, which will deliver 109 homes with a whole market offer. 65 homes will be available for market sale through Cube Homes, with 44 affordable homes in a mix of shared ownership and affordable rent.

Northfield Supported Housing Scheme

Northfield is one of four new-build supported housing schemes designed for people with learning disabilities across Manchester. We’ve worked alongside Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Mosscare St Vincent’s Housing Group to deliver the schemes in partnership with Manchester City Council. These projects have enabled Manchester to bring specialist care provision back into the local authority and have created places where residents can remain close to friends and family in accommodation which meets their support needs.

Promoting independent living, Northfield’s residents can adapt their care provision through wireless technology.