Nationwide 'to build 200 homes'

Reports that the Nationwide Building Society is to directly build about 200 'fair price' homes in Swindon feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that the "£50 million investment in a five-hectare site not far from its corporate headquarters in the town comes after customers asked Nationwide to do more to support practical new approaches to housing". But the paper adds that the mutual "said it was only tiptoeing into property development and had no plans to become a volume housebuilder".

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that backers of the High Speed Two rail project will argue today that the proposed line "has a vital role in reducing the north-south divide and increasing productivity across the UK". The paper says that the "company building the £56 billion project will publish a report detailing the benefits of the network that will link London to Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds".

Writing in the Times (subscription), Clive Aslet, editor of Country Life magazine, says that the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) "has given its house of the year award to a place where no sane person would think of living". The sprawling, multi-million pound Caring Wood in Kent was given the award earlier this week. Aslet writes: "Most RIBA members would prefer to design a one-off bespoke project, spectacular in photographs, rather than dirty their hands with the less glamorous business of providing homes for ordinary people."

Writing in the Telegraph, transport secretary Chris Grayling says that the government’s rail strategy, published yesterday, will see new rail links developed "that best support housing and economic growth".

The Telegraph says that a report has found that "reopening rail lines closed during the notorious Beeching cuts of the 1960s could boost house prices in places such as Ashington, Okehampton and Skipton which have found themselves less desirable in recent years". The paper says that "property agency Savills analysed house prices and found that values in many of the towns at the end of the potential new lines had slipped behind the average price for the county which they are in".

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