Curo has started construction work with contractor Clayewater Homes to deliver another 17 new affordable homes in Weston-super-Mare.
The three- and four-bedroom homes will be built on two sites in West Wick: Scot Elm Drive and Warelys Lane.
The west England-based housing association is investing more than £4.6m in the new homes, along with just over £800,000 of government funding from Homes England and £305,000 grant funding from North Somerset Council.
Curo says the investments will help keep rents significantly below the local market-rent levels in perpetuity and will enable more local people to take a first step on the property ladder.
Curo chief executive Victor da Cunha said: “Curo have committed to build 1,700 homes across the West of England over the next five years.
“Weston-super-Mare, like many other parts of the region, is in desperate need for additional good quality affordable housing for local people, so we’re really pleased to be playing our part in supporting the local authority in its ambitious plans to deliver the homes local people need.
“Building new homes is also good for the local economy, helping to provide jobs, and ploughing money back into local supply chains.
“Over recent months, we’ve worked with North Somerset Council to help shape their economic recovery plan, and we’re pleased to see that new housing will feature strongly at the centre of their strategy.”
Eleven of the new homes in West Wick will be sold through Shared Ownership, with the remaining six let at social rent through North Somerset Council’s choice-based lettings scheme.
All of the homes will be fitted with solar panels on the roofs, which Curo says will benefit future residents, who will be able to enjoy lower electricity bills.
Cllr Donald Davies, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “We’re pleased to support this scheme, which will deliver desperately needed new affordable homes in Weston-super-Mare, helping people on the council’s housing waiting list and those local residents who can’t afford to buy a home on the open market.
“These new homes will benefit the local community well into the future, and we look forward to welcoming their residents with Curo next year.
“It’s vital that the council and housing associations work together to address the housing crisis in our area, putting residents and the needs of the community first.”
The homes will be completed and ready to receive their new residents by November 2021.
Impact of COVID-19
Meanwhile, faced with restrictions on holding its traditional annual residents’ conference, Curo took to the internet to host its first digital conference in September.
Curo designed a day-long, interactive programme so that residents could see and hear directly from colleagues from across Curo and choose to join the sessions that most interested them.
Tom Box, Curo’s Resident Engagement manager, said: “We’re determined to stay in touch with our residents as much as we possibly can throughout these extraordinary times.
“We want to hear what our customers are saying and give them the information they need about our services.
“Our annual residents’ conference is an important way for us to do this and we weren’t going to let COVID-19 stop this happening.”
The conference, which was broadcast live on Youtube, Facebook, and Zoom has now been watched more than 1,200 times, with numbers continuing to rise daily.
Rigorous COVID-19 safety measures were in place for the event which featured socially-distanced presentations from Curo colleagues with a panel of Curo residents and Curo’s chair, Liz Potter, joining remotely from their homes.
Tom added: “We recognise that not everyone has access to the internet so we provided information about the event to residents living in our sheltered housing and offered to support anyone who wanted help getting online.
“We’re also including a report on the event in Prime Time News, our newsletter for sheltered housing residents and customers of our Independent Living Service.”
Curo is a 13,000-home housing association and housebuilder based in the west of England, providing affordable homes and care and support services across the region.
Main image: (L-R) Curo chief executive Victor da Cunha, North Somerset Council leader Donald Davies, and Clayewater Homes managing director Brian Webber
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