SOMERSET: £9.5M for Minehead homes
CREDIT: Somerset West And Taunton Council.
Up to £9.5M will be spent over the next two years to deliver the first new council houses in a Somerset town for a generation.
Somerset West and Taunton Council’s planning committee approved plans in June for 54 new council houses on council-owned land on Seaward Way, at the eastern edge of Minehead.
The council announced in July that it had signed a contract with Classic Builders to deliver the zero-carbon homes near the recently-completed Snazaroo and Toolstation business units.
Officers have now confirmed the contract to deliver the homes is worth £9.5M, with construction work expected to begin in November and the development being delivered in its entirely by the end of 2023.
Classic Builders previously worked with the council to deliver eight new low-cost flats on Laxton Road in Taunton, which were completed in February.
Christopher Brown, the council’s assistant director of housing property, said the contract would help to meet the high demand across the district for low-cost housing.
He said: “Our business plan includes the development of 1,000 new homes over the next 30 years.
“The district has significant demand for affordable homes, with a current target of 264 units per year.
“Our new builds complement the affordable homes delivered though housing association partners.
“We have made a commitment to ensure that sites are all low carbon and energy efficient, but also exploring the most of technological and design innovations.”
Of the £9.5M set aside for the scheme (which includes an employer’s contingency), 40 per cent of the money will come from the sale of existing council houses through the right to buy scheme (c. £3.8M).
A further £470,000 will be provided through grants from the Hinkley Point C construction programme, with the council providing £58,204 from its own reserves and the remainder (just over £5.17M) being borrowed.
Work is expected to begin on-site in November, with council officers telling a meeting of the tenants strategic group in mid-July that the first new homes would be available from early-2023.
A spokesman said: “With some phases being ready from early-2023, it is anticipated that the build will take just under two years to complete.
“In line with our declaration to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, the homes will be zero carbon in use.
“Local people in housing need living in or having connections to Minehead will have priority in obtaining one of these innovative homes for rent.”
The Seaward Way development forms part of a pledge by the council to deliver around 300 new affordable homes across the district over the next two years, on top of homes delivered as part of major commercial developments such as Orchard Grove on Taunton’s western edge.
The majority of these homes will be delivered through the North Taunton Woolaway Regeneration Programme, with construction recently beginning on the first phase of a scheme which will eventually provide 227 homes in the Priorswood area of the county town.
A further 26 properties will come from “intensifying an existing housing site” at Sneddon Grove in Taunton (near the town’s BMX track), and eight will be produced from converting the former Oxford Inn pub on Roman Road.
The remaining 24 properties will be delivered by demolishing underused garages belonging to the council and building homes in their place – in a similar fashion to the £2M Sydenham scheme being implemented by Sedgemoor District Council in Bridgwater.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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