NewsMonday 29th September 2014
South Devon Rural wind prestigious Rural Award for Best Rural Development.100% affordable housing project wins top award
A new rural housing development which not only delivers 100 percent affordable housing for the local community but also boasts the title of energy efficient affordable homes in the South Hams has won a coveted award.
The development of four homes at Parkfield in Thurlestone near Kingsbridge has been named joint winner of the Best Rural Development in the 2014 Devon Rural Housing Awards, run by the Community Council of Devon.
The scheme has been developed by South Hams District Council in partnership with South Devon Rural Housing Association on former council-owned land, once used as a telephone exchange.
All of the three-bedroom homes were put up for rent at 80 percent of the local market rate with priority going to people with a strong local connection.
Designed and built by Sustainable Design Collective Ltd, the innovative homes are all-electric with projected fuel costs of below £250 per year for a family of five.
Cllr Simon Wright, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member with responsibility for housing, said: “We are very proud of what has been achieved at Thurlestone both in terms of affordability and energy efficiency.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver developments with 100 percent affordable housing but it is particularly important for a community like Thurlestone where it is much needed. The ‘green’ credentials of the project are also impressive and I’m pleased the award judges saw fit to recognise the scheme in this way.”
The challenges of the project included reclaiming the brownfield land after being derelict for a long period and design sensitivities as the site falls within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Steve Prime, Chief Executive of Devon Rural Housing Association, said: “It took a lot of determination, time and patience to deliver this project, so I am delighted that it has won this prestigious award. The project demonstrates the value of working with a community based organisation, specialising in rural development. This brings our total of sub-market properties for rent under the South Hams Intermediate Rental Enterprise to over 30 with an investment of around £4 million.”
Judge Ken Browse who is Chairman of the National Association of Local Councils said of the development: “With a brownfield site within an AONB this is a unique design using non traditional methods. The excellent use of sustainable features will provide very low energy requirements for the future.”
The homes include numerous energy efficient features such as heat recovery ventilation to keep the buildings warm, solar panels to provide free electricity, solar thermal tubes to provide free hot water and a tank under the garden to provide filtered rain water for toilets and washing machines.
The walls also have 300mm insulation which is virtually soundproof and the design it modular and timber-framed making it even more cost-effective to build.
Bill Brown from Sustainable Design Collective Ltd, said: “Innovative schemes like this are difficult to achieve unless everyone is on board with them. We want to use this scheme to point the way to designing high quality social housing at reasonable cost, emphasising that the houses are cheaper to live in at a time when the costs of energy are ever rising."
The Parkfield site at Thurlestone shared the top honour of Best Rural Development with Griffin Close in Hemyock.
The award was presented at the Community Council of Devon’s annual conference at Exeter Racecourse on Thursday (September 25.)
For more information about affordable housing in the South Hams visit www.southhams.gov.uk or call 01803 861234.