Image above - from left to right: Curo Chief Executive Victor da Cunha, Curo customers Hazel Spinks and five-year-old son Leo, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Paul Smith
The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, has welcomed the first families into their homes at a new development of 14 affordable houses at Whitehall Road, Easton.
The three-bedroom homes, delivered by housing association and house-builder Curo and contractor Clayewater Homes, are being let through Bristol City Council’s Home Choice scheme on secure affordable rent tenancies below the Local Housing Allowance rate.
Amongst the first new residents are Hazel Spinks, her partner Mark Garnett and their three children. They were handed the keys to their new home by the Mayor and Curo Chief Executive, Victor da Cunha, during a ceremony that marked the official completion of the affordable housing development.
The family of five previously lived in a two-bed maisonette. Hazel, who is the main carer for her five-year-old autistic son, says: “We desperately needed more space to bring up our three children and particularly for my son’s needs. Leo goes to school two hours a day and spends most of his time at home, so having a spacious, warm and safe home, with a garden, is incredibly important for his wellbeing.
“Our whole family is so excited about moving into our beautiful new home – it’s like an early Christmas present. We really don’t mind about getting any other gifts because now we’ve got a lovely new home for our family.”
Abbie and her 15-year old daughter and ten-year-old son have been on the housing list for almost five years and they’re delighted to be moving into a new Curo home. Abbie says: “My teenage daughter is studying for her GCSEs and she’s so happy to finally have her own space rather than share a bedroom with her younger brother.
“While living in a flat we didn’t have any outdoors space so to move somewhere with a garden is just amazing.”
Mr and Mrs Bah are also amongst the new Curo residents at Whitehall Road. They’ve been living in temporary accommodation with their three children since February. Mr Bah, who works as a forklift driver, says: “It’s a great feeling to know that we can now settle in our new home for the long term. It’s a very good location close to many amenities and a five-minute walk to my children’s school. We’re all really happy.”
Curo has invested over £2.8m into the scheme, with additional funding coming from Bristol City Council’s Affordable Housing funding budget (£322,000) and Homes England (£520,000).
Curo Chief Executive, Victor da Cunha, says: “We’re absolutely delighted that 14 more families have the opportunity today to move into a brand new home with a secure, long-term tenancy at our development.
“We’re working hard alongside the Council and other partners to make it possible for even more local people to access high quality affordable housing and we have several active sites across the city. In North Bristol, where we’re looking to deliver 185 new homes, more than half will be affordable housing for people who struggle to rent or buy on the open market.
“We need to do more and we’re constantly looking for opportunities and partnerships that will enable us to increase our affordable housing delivery in Bristol.”
Mayor Marvin Rees says: “It’s great to meet the new residents and see how building new, high-quality affordable homes changes people’s lives for the better. Working in partnership with housing associations like Curo is essential to solving the housing crisis and meeting our city’s target of 2,000 new homes, including 800 affordable homes, by 2020.
“Redevelopments like this are crucial in making sure that affordable homes are available in key locations within the city by changing the use of existing underused and derelict sites and I’m very pleased that Curo have chosen to build a 100% affordable housing scheme here.
“A secure home is the foundation of a thriving life and I’ve met a number of families here today who will benefit from these modern affordable homes for many years to come.”
Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Paul Smith, was also among guests taking their first look at Curo’s new affordable homes. He said: “This scheme is a great example of partnership working. It’s also the first 100% affordable housing development in Bristol to be delivered with support from the Council’s Affordable Housing funding budget.
“We’ve committed £322,000 to make these new homes possible and I’m delighted that more families were able to find the right home for themselves, in the right location. We work closely with house-builders like Curo to build the homes our city needs both by integrating new housing into existing communities and creating new, balanced neighbourhoods.”