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Affordable homes first for Wiltshire



Affordable homes first for Wiltshire

A run-down building in central Chippenham has been transformed into much needed affordable housing by Somer Community Housing Trust, with investment from Wiltshire Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Kilvert House, a development of six apartments next to the cinema on Marshfield Road, was declared open at a special event on 4th April. The scheme is one of the first in Wiltshire to be completed under the HCA's new Affordable Homes Programme which provides investment for new affordable housing across England.

The sensitive design of the homes, built within a conservation area in Chippenham, sets a precedent for future development along the Marshfield Road. The development represents an investment of over £300,000 from Somer, with a further £184,000 coming from the HCA and £200,000 from Wiltshire Council.

The name Kilvert House was suggested by a local resident after the rural diarist, Francis Kilvert, who was born in Chippenham.

Greg Easson is one of the first people to move into Kilvert House. Greg, who grew up in Chippenham and has a three-year-old daughter, Jaime, said:

"The flat seems massive and looks great. I am currently living in emergency accommodation in Devizes so I can't wait to move in and set up my own home again."

Mike Grist, Director of Asset Management and Development at Somer, said:

"At Somer we strive to make a positive and profound contribution to the neighbourhoods we work in, and this development at Kilvert House has really helped to lift the local area, as well as providing badly-needed affordable homes for people in Chippenham."

John Thomson, Cabinet Member for Housing at Wiltshire Council, said:

"One of the council's priorities is to provide enough good quality accommodation for Wiltshire's residents, and it's brilliant we are also able to bring much-needed jobs and commercial activities to the area during this economic downturn. As these homes are within a conservation area, more care and attention was needed to ensure the building blended in with the surroundings. We hope the new tenants enjoy living there."

The HCA last year agreed a contract with Somer, which sees it deliver 472 new homes across the South West, supported with £10m in investment from the Affordable Homes Programme.

Peter Jones, HCA Head of Area, said:

"These houses are amongst the first of around 80,000 which will be delivered under Affordable Homes Programme over the next three years.

"We know how important good quality, affordable housing is in areas like Chippenham, and that's why we support schemes such as this. I'm really pleased to see people like Greg benefiting from the investment and the works that partners have put into the project."

All of these new homes are being allocated according to housing need through Wiltshire Council's Homes 4 Wiltshire scheme and will be let at low-cost rents. The homes have been built to comply with Lifetime Homes and to high energy-efficiency standards, meeting Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The homes were designed by architects GCP and built by Halsall Construction.

Somer is currently looking for further opportunities to provide new affordable homes in Wiltshire. Anyone with land or development opportunities is asked to contact Somer's Development team:

Call 01225 366064.

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