Cornwall Council has agreed a multi-million-pound deal with West Carclaze Garden Village to acquire 130 affordable homes.
The council made the deal with the sustainable garden village project, located to the north of St Austell, in a bid to tackle the region’s housing shortage.
The deal with developers Eco-Bos is the largest acquisition in the council’s history and is part of its new ‘council housing’ development programme, which was set up in 2019 following the lifting of borrowing restrictions by the government.
Once construction of West Carclaze Garden Village is completed, the homes will be available for social and affordable rent to local households in need.
Shared ownership homes will also be available, helping local people take their first step on the housing ladder.
The homes are expected to be handed over to the council over the next three to four years, with the first due in the coming months.
The first phase of the private homes has now been released for reservation to the general public, with 23 homes already secured.
In line with the UK’s target, the Garden Village will be net carbon-zero by 2050, with each property featuring solar panels and air-source heat pumps, whilst boasting an EPC-A rating, which less than 0.2% of UK homes possess.
As a result, every home will save an average of 4.6 tonnes of carbon a year, using just 32% of the energy of an average house.
Upon completion, West Carclaze Garden Village will include 1,500 homes, the UK’s first ever carbon-neutral nursery and primary school, a village square and community hub, a marketplace, leisure quarter, two solar farms, a wetland nature reserve, 350-acre country park, 12 miles of nature trails for walking and biking, five lakes, and multiple parks.
Webbers Estate Agents director Andrew Simpson, said: “We have been working with Eco-Bos for many years and have had an active input into delivery of these 94% efficient homes.
“West Carclaze nestles in a beautiful setting having access to open countryside with biodiversity at the core.
“There will be extensive amenities and recreational facilities on site.
“This really is a breath of fresh air when it comes to eco homes and smart living with the formation of a vibrant community in an accessible location”.
‘Committed to ending the housing crisis’
Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for Housing and Planning said: “This deal represents nearly two years of work by officers from our dedicated in-house Delivery Team and our partners at Eco-Bos.
“This council has committed to ending the housing crisis in Cornwall, and commercial acquisitions of low carbon homes like this, in sustainable locations, shows our commitment to doing whatever is necessary to provide homes that people in our communities can afford – without having a detrimental effect on the environment.
“We want to buy many more homes like these – thus taking them off the open market and making them available to local people who need them – and we are working with partners across the housing market to achieve that.
“I also offer my thanks to the previous administration and Lord Taylor of Goss Moor for their assistance over the years in bringing this site forward.”
Maher Maksoud, CEO of Eco-Bos, said: “We are delighted to announce this sale of homes to Cornwall Council, which has been a close collaborator and supporter of West Carclaze Garden Village at all stages of its conception and development.
“As our first UK project, we are making every effort to make West Carclaze Garden Village a model project inspired by the aspirational life-enriching design principles of Garden Villages and net carbon neutral development to do our part for the environment and future generations; and, last but not least, making this all surprisingly affordable to the average family.
“Cornwall Council’s purchase is a great vote of confidence in the project and a further encouragement for us to make it a national showcase.”
Julian German, who was cabinet lead for the project from 2009 until earlier this year, said: “For more than a decade we have been working together to bring forward the infrastructure for this development; new travel options, new workspace, a new school under construction.
“Only now are houses being delivered. This is an exemplar development doing what people tell us should happen, putting the infrastructure in first. I am delighted that Cornwall Council has secured affordable properties here for Cornish people.”
Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, chair of the West Carclaze Garden Village board, said: “This announcement marks a breakthrough moment for West Carclaze Garden Village, as homes are now being delivered as promised to meet local needs, alongside the new school, and, soon, the village centre.
“The transformation of derelict China clay works to a new 21st century community, meeting local housing needs in a spectacular environment and the highest standards of sustainability, is a huge effort.
“My thanks go to Eco-Bos, Cornwall Council, and Homes England for working so well together to deliver the vision as promised.”
Image: CGI projection of the completed West Carclaze Garden Village in Cornwall
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