Newsletter No. 5 - February 2016
Affordable Housing Project
After some deliberation it was agreed by the Steering Group to select Aster Homes to be our partner to build and manage the twelve affordable homes in Mark. This was ratified at a meeting with their representatives on 15th December, 2015. The Aster Group is an ethical social enterprise which owns and manages 27,000 homes across the South and South West and has worked in partnership with other CLTs to deliver affordable homes for local people. Whilst its HQ is based in Devizes it also has a further office located in Wells.
Together with our new partner, the appointment of Collier Reading of Wells as Architects for our project was made on 21st December, 2015.
I am pleased to report that both land and ecology surveys have now been carried out on the Northwick site. The engineering survey is due to be completed shortly which will enable the Architect to start putting together an indicative layout of the homes etc. This will then help to determine where and how the homes can be built and the costs involved. At this stage and assuming nothing has arisen to stop the development proceeding, we can then submit a further support grant application to Groundwork UK for up to £40,000, to cover all future work necessary eg additional surveys etc which will need to be undertaken inorder to produce detailed plans of the twelve homes.
It is anticipated that arrangements will be made to hold a meeting of members later next month to advise them on the outcome of the surveys and progress made todate on the project. As previously stated it is still the intention to hold a public consultation meeting when plans are nearer finalisation and before any planning application is submitted.
One piece of bad news is that in December, 2015, without any warning, the Government through its Homes and Community Agency withdrew, with immediate effect, its grant funding for the building of future rented affordable housing. This obviously has a serious impact on our project and many others across the country. However, all is not lost as Aster Homes together with other members of our group are currently exploring means of funding the shortfall of over half a million pounds. We will of course keep you posted of developments in this respect.
It is very important that anyone, with local connections, who wishes to be considered for any of the affordable rented homes, we are planning to build, should ensure they are registered on Homefinder Somerset register sooner, rather than later. To register log on to www.homefindersomerset.co.uk where you can fill out an online application form or phone Sedgemoor District Council on 0845 408 2540 for more information. Don’t wait until the building work commences, as it may well be too late to be considered!