LiveWest is set to build 758 homes in rural areas across the South West over the next two years.
In a week when the housing sector celebrates Rural Housing Week – a yearly event organised by the National Housing Federation – LiveWest has demonstrated its commitment to rural housing by building 688 rural homes in the past two years.
LiveWest has invested more than £33m in rural homes during the last financial year having built 219 homes in rural areas.
The total is made up of 87 homes built in Cornwall, 67 in Devon, 43 in Somerset and 22 in the West of England.
In the next 12 months, LiveWest is planning to develop 56 homes in Cornwall, 116 in Devon, 180 in Somerset, eight in the West of England and an additional 10 in other areas.
It means around a third of LiveWest’s development programme centres around rural housing.
The NHF’s Rural Housing Week takes place 5-9 July to promote the work housing associations are doing in rural towns and villages across the country.
It aims to shine the spotlight on the investment housing associations are making in rural communities and the role they play in offering a lifeline to local people in our market towns and villages.
This year’s theme is ‘committed to rural communities’ which will highlight housing associations’ commitment to providing affordable homes that people love and the role they play in helping to keep vital rural services alive.
Gareth Jones, development director for LiveWest, said: “It is great to be able celebrate rural housing and the vital role it plays in helping to sustain thriving rural communities.
“At LiveWest we are committed to strengthening and supporting rural communities by creating access to excellent affordable housing.
“We know the huge difference affordable rural homes make to local people who want to stay in the area in which they work or have family links.
“Housing associations have a key role to play in connecting local communities coupled with providing homes that people love to live in.
“Over the past year we have delivered over 219 homes in rural locations in the South West and we are stepping up our delivery.
“We need to challenge the sector to increase the supply of affordable rural housing and contribute positively to ensuring a thriving countryside.”
One of LiveWest’s latest rural schemes to have been completed was 18 affordable homes in Dulverton, a tranquil setting on the edge of Exmoor National Park.
LiveWest teamed up with Woofenden Construction and was supported by Somerset West and Taunton Council and Exmoor National Park Authority, to deliver six homes for shared ownership, six for social rent and six for affordable rent.
Charlie Wiliams and Edward Geeson thought they would be priced out of the rental market until they were offered one of the affordable rental properties.
Charlie, 20, said: “The affordable rent that LiveWest offer means we are able to afford the home. It just gives young people like us the chance to have our own space without having to pay high rental prices.
“And it means we can stay living in the area that we love instead of having to move away.”
One rural development which has just got underway is in the village of Uffculme.
The first major housing development in the village for 20 years was completed earlier this year which included 11 homes for rent, 10 for shared ownership and 39 for open market sale.
Now LiveWest has partnered with Lovell Homes on another collaborative project to develop an additional 30 homes in the idyllic rural location.
Work started last month and the project is set to take around 18 months to complete with the first residents expected to move in towards the summer of 2022.
Leon Harris, senior development manager for LiveWest, said: “These homes at Uffculme are supporting the growth of this beautiful rural community.
“Rural house building can be key to the survival of vital community assets and services, such as schools, post offices and pubs and we know these homes will really make a difference.
“We are really delighted with the continuing success of this project and to strengthen LiveWest’s commitment to rural housing with the start of Phase Two which includes an additional 30 homes.
“In total across the two phases we will be providing 32 low-cost homes supporting many local families that would be otherwise priced out of the area to stay within their community.
“Alongside the homes we are also providing large green open-spaces for the residents, as well as a financial contribution towards the up-grade of off-site play areas within the village, and a large financial contribution towards primary schooling in Uffculme.”
The first affordable homes at a project in Fowey, Cornwall, have just been completed and residents will soon be moving in.
Fowey, a port town lying at the mouth of the River Fowey in south Cornwall, is a great example of an area where the disparity between pay and average property prices continues to grow without any sign of slowing down.
The development in Fowey has seen LiveWest partner with Burrington Estates to develop homes for rent and shared ownership – providing affordable options for local people.
The scheme has a local connection criteria, which means many of the homes will be owned or rented by people already living within and around the area.
Lucie Sominka, development manager for LiveWest, said: “This is a stunning development which is proving very popular with local people.
“The scheme includes an element of affordable homes for local people to rent or purchase as shared ownership, and continued provision of affordable homes in rural areas is important for the community to continue to survive and thrive.
“This development is a very good example of a rural high value, coastal town, where there is an enormous affordability gap.
“These affordable homes help address that gap and ensure that people can still rent or own a home at a price they can afford.
“We hope that these new affordable homes will help to tackle the housing crisis in Cornwall and help more local people find good quality homes close to their friends, family and workplace.”
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