A parish community in Hampshire has celebrated the completion of 12 new energy-efficient, affordable homes built at its first rural exception site.
The homes, delivered by Hastoe Housing, have been built in Odiham and North Warnborough, and they have been prioritised for people with a local connection to the parish. They also form a living tribute to a former local landowner and philanthropist.
As demand for homes in rural areas has increased, so have land prices, while greater planning restrictions have meant fewer homes have been built.
However, rural exception sites (RES) allows land to be used for non-market development at a price that supports the delivery of affordable housing for local need.
Parish councillor Pamela Verdon said: “RES are exceptionally important to those communities struggling to increase supply of affordable homes, and even more important to the households whose livelihoods depend on access to these homes.
“We have been very pleased to see the completion of this excellent development for local people and would like to welcome the new residents to the Parish of Odiham and North Warnborough.”
District councillor Peter Wildsmith added: “It is well known that Hart is a popular but also expensive area in which to buy or to rent a home, with villages within the district being even more unaffordable for many people.
“In 2015, the Parish Council commissioned Action Hampshire to undertake a Housing Needs Survey within the Parish of Odiham and North Warnborough, which recorded a high level of need for affordable housing.
“Representatives from Odiham and North Warnborough Parish Council, Hastoe Housing Association, Action Hampshire and Hart District Council’s housing team have worked together since then to enable the delivery of the new homes.
Hart District Council is delighted that these 12 much-needed new affordable homes have been completed offering local people an opportunity to rent or to buy a share in a home through shared ownership.”
The name of the new development – Warren Andrew Drive – pays tribute to the legacy of the landowners’ great uncle, who was a farmer, and the previous landowner.
Andrew’s great nephew, Andrew May said: “The extended family of Warren Andrew, our great uncle, who was a farmer, philanthropist and local churchgoer until he died in 1950, are delighted to see this rural affordable housing development constructed by Hastoe …
“We consider it as a fitting memorial to our relative whose ethos was helping other people. As landowners, we have been delighted to support the cause of the development as a rural exception site, and we hope many more landowners will do the same to keep local communities together.”
Resident Andy Dampier said: “After being on the housing waiting list and renting a single room for the last five years, I was overjoyed in being offered a one-bedroom flat in the area I grew up in.
“Hastoe Housing Association has provided me with an affordable energy efficient home. I can now enjoy my independence again, as well as being close to my family and friends.”
The new homes in the Hampshire village have been built to a high sustainable standard, adopting a fabric-first approach; reducing carbon emissions and saving residents money on their heating bills.
All the homes have MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) systems and incorporate other key elements such as reduced water consumption, local vernacular design, minimal impact on the environment, Nationally Described Space Standards (NDSS) and accessibility features.
Works began on site in March 2021 and, after a change in contractor, the homes were completed in May 2023. Development partners were Architecture PLB, W Stirland, Shopland Gray and employer’s agent AECOM.
Hastoe invested £1.9m in the development, together with a recycled capital grant fund of £52,000. Homes England funded a further £768,000.
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.