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SRHA 2 70

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation officially opened an innovative affordable rural housing development in Kinlet, near Bridgnorth, last week.

Designed by etc Design and constructed by Saxonby for Shropshire Rural Housing Association (SRHA) the scheme consists of eight dwellings including two, two-bedroom detached bungalows, four two-bedroom and two three-bedroom semi-detached houses.

SRHA set out to not only provide new homes but also deliver a number of benefits to the community. For example, the village primary school's playing field, previously unusable for much of the year due to waterlogging, now has improved drainage as a result of an excellent partnership with Kinlet Parish Council. Engaging with SRHA and Saxonby the school linked pupils’ studies to the green features of the development. The aim to work closely with local people to meet housing needs as well as deliver these wider community benefits were aspects of the project supported by a Community Led Development Grant from Shropshire Council.

Kinlet has no mains gas but, in a first for the county SHRA’s commitment to affordable warmth, low running costs and a long-term reduction in environmental impact was been achieved through the use of a highly insulated closed-panel timber frame system, designed and manufactured in Walsall by LoCal Homes. This design solution, together with Kensa ground source heat pumps which, utilise the natural sources of heat from the ground below the houses and boosts it to provide space heating and hot water, have provided light, spacious, warm and affordable homes to rent for local people. In addition, lack of capacity in the village's sewage treatment plant meant that SHRA provided its own environmentally friendly biodisc system.

With the conscious aim of supporting Shropshire’s predominantly rural economy wherever possible 45 per cent of the site’s spend utilised county based suppliers, 23 per cent from the West Midlands region and 32 per cent from the rest of the UK.

Commenting on the new development and rural housing in general, David Orr said: "This is brilliant! It’s exactly what we should be doing. Kinlet is lucky in that it still retains a school and a pub. Many other villages are not so lucky and one of the reasons is that affordable two and three bedroom homes for young families were not built in time to sustain the community and its facilities. Housing associations identify need and act on it, and at the heart of that ethos is the building of quality affordable homes for rent. Anyone who says building new houses destroys villages needs to see this example in Kinlet. Congratulations to everyone involved in this successful development.”

Ian Richardson, chief executive at SRHA said: “We’re delighted with these new homes and the comments we’ve received from residents. The project has been completed in a spirit of partnership and involved us working with the village community, Shropshire Council, local contractors, consultants and suppliers. Home ownership is beyond the means of many people and renting privately can also be unaffordable, particularly in rural areas. That is why these new homes in Kinlet are so important to local people and will help to sustain village life and the rural economy of Shropshire.”

Picture: (Left to right) Jason Powell, head of manufacturing, LoCaL Homes, Ian Richardson, chief executive and Heather Kidd, chairman, Shropshire Rural Housing Association, David Orr, chief executive, National Housing Federation, Mal Price, Shropshire Council cabinet member for housing and Andrew Copson, director, Saxonby.