Thursday 28th July 2022

At last! Elmhirst Court officially opened

An official opening ceremony was held on Tuesday (26 July) for 11 new independent living apartments for people with various levels of learning difficulties on a site at Brimhay, Dartington.

The Elmhirst Court apartments on land owned and managed by South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDR) were completed in the summer of 2021 and the first tenants are now well established in their new homes, which for many are offering the first taste of independent living.

The opening ceremony, which was attended by key stakeholders in the project, had to be postponed from the original date due to Covid-19 restrictions. Dartington Councillor Jaqi Hodgson cut the ribbon.

The project forms part of SDR’s Brimhay Development Scheme and is a collaboration with Devon County Council (DCC) and South Hams District Council (SHDC).

Elmhirst Court has been funded by a £400,000 grant from Homes England and by the sale of market-value homes on the Brimhay Gardens development, with the surplus gift-aided back through SDR’s development arm, Rural Homes Ltd.

The building was formally handed over by Totnes contractors Coyde Construction in July 2021 and the first set of tenants for the new apartments were allocated the following month.

Councillor Jacqi Hodgson, South Hams District and Devon County Councillor for Dartington, who performed the opening ceremony, said: “The ‘Stepping Stone’ apartments at Elmhirst Court are a real boost for meeting a wider range of housing needs for our community. These 11 new homes mean we can now offer more local people the chance to live independently and confidently in bright and comfortable accommodation”.

SDR Chief Executive Christine Candlish added: “The range of properties that make up our soon-to-be-completed Brimhay Project symbolises the broad spectrum of ages and needs that South Devon Rural aims to cater for going forward.

“I’m delighted these 11 apartments are now helping tenants to experience independent living, many for the first time. It’s the human element that makes any building come alive and Elmhirst Court is now fulfilling the potential we knew it would offer”.

Captions - 
Dartington Councillor Jaqi Hodgson (centre) cuts the ribbon, watched by (right of picture) some of Elmhirst Court’s residents* and (left of picture) stakeholders in the project**

* Residents – from left to right: Able Sharp and fiancée Leanne, Emily Gillespie, Abbie Chesters, Niamh Ross, Buddy Holly Price, Tom Seeley.

** Stakeholders – from left to right: Francis Bourke SDR Deputy CEO, Adam Tanton from Devon County Council, Alex Rehaag SHDC Affordable Housing Senior Specialist, Versha Koria from Homes England, Christine Candlish SDR Chief Executive, Roger Hands SDR Chairman.