The lender said it expects to invest an additional £20m by 2022 to help communities across the country with their housing issues.
It said member feedback drove the decision to back “practical approaches to housing” and added the homes would be built on a non-profit basis for the society and confirmed there would be no commercial ties to the mortgage lending arm or other commercial advantage.
The initiative is designed to break even through sales and rentals, and any profit will be reinvested in other Nationwide community projects.
The plot for the build is the Oakfield campus site, a five-hectare brownfield space, but is still at the planning stage for 200 new homes, with building scheduled to start in 2019. The Oakfield campus has been allocated for housing use since 2013 and has been unoccupied since the university closed seven years ago.
The initial consultation could last for up to six months and help determine key aspects of the development, including green spaces and facilities. A planning officer has been appointed to manage community integration of the project.
Social investment programme
Joe Garner, Nationwide’s chief executive, said: “Building on our housing heritage, our mutual purpose, and our founding principle that people can achieve more together than they can alone, we aim to show that it’s possible to develop quality homes at fair prices. By challenging existing practice in just a small way here in Swindon and ensuring the views of locals shape our development, 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: “We look forward to working with Nationwide and local residents as the plans develop.”
Nationwide said its members voted housing their top concern in a survey and part of its five-year social investment programme, aimed at helping people “find a place fit to call home.”
Also, Nationwide expects to invest an additional £20m by 2022 to help communities across the country tackle their housing issues, inviting local members to vote on which projects to support. The programme is being piloted in Northern England, before going nationwide in 2018.
Principality Building Society, in partnership with the Welsh government co-founded the Tirion Group in December 2014, another not-for-profit organisation building affordable homes for sale and rent. The group began work on a development in Cardiff in February this year.
Home Builders Federation spokesman Steve Turner, said any move to alleviate the acute home building crisis the UK faces is very welcome.
“The majority of the increases in the last four years have come from the big housebuilders but there’s a limit to the rate of increase they can provide,” said Turner. “But we have to see contributions from a range of different providers as clearly there’s a limit to how much any single organisation can fund.”