Friday 23rd November 2018

Brimhay bringing home vital affordable housing

 A community benefit society has been given the green light to begin work on redeveloping its land at Brimhay, Dartington, to provide a total of 32 new homes, many of them much-needed social housing for older or vulnerable people.

South Devon Rural Housing Association (SDR) received the final go-ahead from South Hams District Council on 13 November, after discharging conditions attached when the development was approved by planners in October 2017.

Work will begin shortly on the site in readiness for demolition and construction to begin in the New Year. It’s expected that the first affordable homes should be ready for occupation before the end of 2019.

The housing association’s plan is to demolish 18 outdated bungalows built in the 1960s, which no longer provide housing of an acceptable quality, as measured by SDR’s standards for its tenants’ homes.

The proposal involves the replacement of these poor-quality, energy-wasting bungalows with 12 affordable apartments, which will be built to high standards, in a three-storey energy-efficient building. The three remaining tenants will be given the opportunity to move straight into the new flats on completion. The remaining flats will be let through the Devon Home Choice, prioritising local people and in particular people who are downsizing.

A second new building will provide 8 independent-living units, which will benefit people across a range of ages who have learning disabilities.


A further 12 homes will be built and sold at Market Value, with the developer, Rural Homes Limited, gift aiding profit back to its parent company, South Devon Rural Housing Association.  Rural Homes Limited, who act as South Devon Rural’s development agent, will project-manage the building of the affordable units.

Chief Executive Steve Prime said: “South Devon Rural has an enviable reputation for providing high-quality housing for local people with a range of needs. This development will mean we can provide homes of a suitable standard for our remaining sitting tenants and will also enable other eligible people to downsize to a home that makes their lives easier. Every home will have a high energy-efficiency rating, which will save residents money AND be good for the environment.

“The few tenants currently living in our bungalows will be offered respite at Forder Lane House, with free lunches and drinks during the day, throughout the demolition and construction process. We estimate that tenants will be able to move into the first affordable homes by the end of next year.

“We are also delighted to have secured funding to build apartments for people with learning disabilities. We will be working closely with local support providers when that phase of the development is under construction”.

The housing association is a not-for-profit organisation whose primary purpose is to deliver affordable housing for local people; it provides and supports a number of housing and care services across South Devon.

Steve Prime added: “The Brimhay development is a natural extension of SDR’s historical role in helping older and/or vulnerable people to find decent, affordable housing.

“Like so many organisations of all types these days, we need to adopt a commercial approach to our activities so we can function and grow. The 12 Market Value homes at Brimhay – which will also be built to a very high standard – will help to fund the more specialised accommodation we are providing”.


The development project, on land next to SDR’s existing care home and bordering a childcare nursery, has been some years in the making, following the original concept in 2014.

Proposals were shared with the community and comments and suggestions taken on board as early models turned into a finite planning application. A car park will be provided for use by nursery staff, which will take cars off the highway in Gidleys Meadow and Brimhay.

Plans were passed by South Hams District Council, but were later amended following a Judicial Review and further delay was caused through a second Judicial Review which ultimately failed. A fresh application was approved by the district council in October 2017. Since then, SDR has been working closely with the district council to ensure that all conditions attached to the planning permission are met in full.

Founded in 1958 as the Dartington Housing Society, SDR has grown into an ethical, not-for-profit, modern organisation which still holds to its core purpose and beliefs – to provide decent homes for families, elderly and vulnerable people.

The multi-faceted Association has evolved over the years into a strong, community-based organisation for South Devon. It has sound working links with the local communities, South Hams District Council, Social Services and other statutory and voluntary agencies.

Steve Prime concluded: “Work is expected to start very soon and it promises to be a development worthy of the Association’s long-held ambition to provide quality homes for people who cannot access housing on the open market.

“SDR has been making steady progress and improving the lives of people in South Devon since its formation in 1958. As we celebrate our Diamond Anniversary in 2018, it gives me great pleasure to see this flagship development about to take shape, carrying on the good work achieved so far and driving forward to a better, brighter future. I am confident that this will create a diverse micro community that the people of Dartington can be proud of!”.