A multi-million pound project to increase affordable homes in a South Gloucestershire village has been officially opened by Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall.
Over the past year Merlin has knocked down 18 non-traditional properties and a rank of garages in Coalpit Heath and replaced them with 39 modern, affordable homes. Customers moved into their new homes last month and last week were invited to a party to officially open the £5.2m development.
After opening the new homes Mr Hall said: “I was delighted to be able to join residents in officially opening their brand new homes in Coalpit Heath, which were made possible through the hard work of Merlin. Small developments such as these retain local people’s ability to remain in their communities that otherwise they might not have been able to afford too, which is important for the strength of village life.”
South Gloucestershire Council’s Adults, Housing and Public Health lead member Cllr Ben Stokes said: “I am delighted the new residents are settling in to this attractive development in Coalpit Heath. The flagship scheme provides much-needed affordable homes in South Gloucestershire and is a good example of partnership working towards the same goal of building high-quality, energy-efficient new affordable homes.”
The 39 new homes are part of 130 properties the housing association is aiming to develop this year. By 2019 Merlin’s goal is to be building 300 homes every year.
Development Manager Noreen Twomey said: “We’re delighted to have completed these stunning new homes, which will help tackle the housing shortage in the area. These are the first affordable homes that have been built in the village for many years, which helps local people who may have been priced out of finding a home of their own in the village.
“This is our biggest single development to date, but we’ve got plans to build many more homes over the coming months and years, including another 45 in Coalpit Heath.”
The new homes are a mix of one and two bedroom flats, two and three bedroom homes and a two bedroom bungalow, specially designed for a wheelchair user. Part of the funding for the homes came from the Homes and Communities Agency, which awarded Merlin £2.4m under its Affordable Homes Programme.
With these homes now completed, Merlin is now planning to start work on further redevelopment of properties on several other sites in the village and in neighbouring Iron Acton. A total of 44 properties will be demolished and 72 new, affordable homes built in their place. Work is due to begin later this year.