The MP for the Isle of Wight visited a new development of affordable homes at Shalfleet Meadows last week, expressing his desire for new developments in the area to “put islanders first”.
Bob Seely visited the Sovereign Housing site with Cllr Shirley Stables, both of whom met with representatives from Sovereign and looked round some of the 24 new homes.
The development, which was acquired by Sovereign after it had received planning permission, is 100% affordable, with 13 homes for affordable rent and 11 for shared ownership.
The homes were built with investment worth £650,408 from Homes England and £450,000 from Isle of Wight Council.
Sovereign developed the homes using local construction firm Stoneham, whose workforce included three apprentices and two work experience employees from the Isle of Wight.
Shalfleet Meadows is the first land-led development built by Sovereign on the Isle of Wight, and Sovereign says this new direction gives it the control to build the quality, affordable homes where local people want to live.
Local connection criteria were used to allocate the new homes.
Seely said: “I am grateful to Sovereign for taking the time to show me round their new development of affordable homes at Shalfleet Meadows.
“I was pleased to hear from the builder, Stoneham, that the homes were built by a local construction company and that local people, including apprentices were involved.
“I remain determined that development on the Isle of Wight needs a major change so that we put islanders first, and I will continue to make the case for a distinct approach on the Isle of Wight which takes into account our unique characteristics.”
He added: “For the first time in 50 years we need to prioritise the building of one and two-bedroom housing for our young people but also for older people wanting to downsize. We need to build for islanders.”
Liz Evans, Sovereign’s project manager on the island, said: “We’re so pleased to welcome our visitors to Shalfleet Meadows and to be able to show them around our beautiful new homes.
“We’ve kept everything here as local as we can, employing local people to complete the build as well as having our office based here too.
“We’re happy to be able to build new affordable housing for local people on the island, and we’re looking forward to welcoming our new residents soon.”
Andy Corbin, director of Stoneham Construction, said: “We were pleased to work with Sovereign to build 24 new homes for local people.
“It was an honour to meet with Mr. Seely and show him Shalfleet Meadows, which we constructed with people from the island.
“Mr. Seely was delighted with the quality of the finished homes, and we’ve had very positive feedback from local people – Shalfleet Meadows has been very popular.”
Sovereign also recently completed a shared refurbishment home in Basingstoke for formerly homeless people.
Working alongside Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and social enterprise OutcomeHome as part of its commitment to ending homelessness, the fully furnished property will offer secure, safe accommodation for up to three residents as they enter the next stage of their journey.
Stephanie Wood, head of Supported Housing at Sovereign, said: “Our mission is to improve the situation for homeless people and their access to housing, primarily through looking at ways to forge new partnerships between local government and third sector organisations.
“We’re proud to have worked with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and our peer mentors at OutcomeHome to support these three individuals through to the next stage of their housing journey.”
Dr Stephanie Barker, from OutcomeHome said: “The peers utilise their lived experience to develop strong relationships and are working with these three residents every week to ensure they feel supported and can make this house into a home.”
Sovereign says there are more shared-home schemes for formerly homeless people in the pipeline.
Main image: MP Bob Seely and councillor Shirley Stables visit Sovereign Housing staff on Isle of Wight housing development
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