New affordable home scheme hailed as a success

Press Release: 01/06/2010

Winchester City Council, in partnership with Mapledean Developments and Radian, has successfully completed a pilot project to provide affordable homes using both public and private land.

The development of eight rented homes at The Gardens, Bishops Waltham was completed in March, with the new tenants taking up occupation in April. The development is comprised of two flats and seven houses ranging in size from two to four bedrooms.

Prior to development, the site was occupied by a pair of semi-detached properties. One was owned by the City Council and the other by a private owner. The opportunity to develop the site was identified by local developers, Mapledean, who agreed to progress the combined site as a 100% affordable housing scheme with the City Council and Radian.

Mapledean Director, Nigel Freemantle supports this collaborative approach, saying: “We have always believed that the best way to provide more homes for the community, whether for social or private occupation, is by a transparent collaboration between the stakeholders. The finished scheme has been a success on many levels with the development of a Brownfield site, the creation of additional affordable homes for Bishops Waltham, and the completion of another Mapledean project that our company is rightly proud of.”

The development attracted a grant award of £760,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), along with further investment from Radian and the City Council. The HCA will also be providing a £1.61m grant for another scheme at Willis Waye, Kings Worthy.

Aside from increasing the supply of affordable homes, the new development at The Gardens has been sensitively designed to blend into the semi-rural surroundings. The City Council’s Development Control Officers and Urban Designer played a key part in the project by working closely with the other stakeholders.

Cllr Lucille Thompson, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, recognises the quality that can be achieved by joint working. She said: “The Council is keen to enable affordable housing development on its land to increase supply, but not at any cost. The Gardens showcases good design and uses quality materials to be aesthetically pleasing on the outside, whilst having an emphasis on being desirable homes for the new residents on the inside. The rooms are spacious, full of natural light with the added benefit of being adaptable to meet the future needs of residents by complying with the Lifetime Homes Standard.”

Andrea Smith, Development and New Business Director at Radian, said: “Radian is pleased to have worked in partnership with both Winchester City Council and a local developer to deliver these much needed family homes in Bishops Waltham. We look forward to working on similarly successful projects with Winchester City Council in the future."

The Gardens is one of a number of recent successful affordable housing projects in Winchester, with similar projects planned for the future.