New 'all weather' scheme opened in Spennymoor
Published by Neil Shaefer for Railway Housing Association in Housing and also in Communities
Staff, residents and partners celebrate the opening of the new Hillingdon development in Spennymoor
The world’s fastest growing power generation technology is being used in Spennymoor’s newest social housing scheme, which has had its official opening.
Fortunately, with the sun absent without leave at present, the Photovoltaic roof panels - installed as part of the Railway Housing Association scheme on the former Hillingdon pub site - rely on daylight, not sunlight, to generate power.
But all the recent wet weather has also helped residents, as underground tanks capture rainwater and effectively recycle it so it can be used in washing machines and to flush toilets.
Railway Housing Association has spent £1.9 million – with half the investment being provided by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) - on the 14-home development built by the Association’s developing partner Yuill Homes. The ten two-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom bungalows have all been let to people in housing need aged 55 and over.
Anne Rowlands, Chief Executive of Railway Housing Association, said: “It’s pleasing, even in these times of economic hardship, to be able to deliver new, innovative housing developments for local people.
“There is a big demand for spacious, high quality homes like this in Spennymoor and working with our partners we are delighted to have played our part in helping to meet this need.”
One of the residents living in one of the new homes is Sheila Lewis, who once worked as a barmaid at the Hillingdon pub.
She said: “The pub was a real focal point of the community, and it is now fantastic to be living in such a great place on the spot where I used to serve drinks.”
Alexandra Ross, partnership manager at Yuill Homes, said: “We’re delighted to have worked with Railway Housing Association to build this fantastic development of high quality affordable homes for older people in Spennymoor.
“Delivering a range of innovative sustainable features as part of this development has made each home highly energy efficient which will help to further reduce bills for residents and make homes even more affordable.”
Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Clive Robson, said: “Partnership working like this remains extremely important in securing the right sort of homes in the right places and to access the range of funds available.
“I am delighted that Railway Housing Association has successfully completed this eco friendly development which will provide much needed purpose built accommodation for older people in Spennymoor.”
The Photovoltaic roof panels have been installed on the roof of the apartment block, as well as on the bungalows. This method of renewable energy, which will provide electricity to the communal areas and help to heat the water in the homes, is the fastest growing power generation technology in the world.
The HCA – England’s national housing and regeneration agency – provided funding of £854,000 towards the scheme, together with loan funding from Barclays.
Ali Johnson, area manager at the HCA said: “It is great to see such an innovative scheme being completed. The quality and features of the buildings is outstanding and offers local people excellent homes at a rent they can afford.
David Glover, Relationship Director with Barclays said: “It’s great to see the regeneration of this site completed using the latest green technology. In the current economic environment, affordable housing is essential – particularly with an ageing population and Railway Housing has done a great job providing this in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.”
As part of the new development, the pub was demolished and the land cleared. A new road was then constructed from the main road running down the site to serve two car parking spaces at the front and a rear car park with 12 more spaces. The bungalows, which include one that has been adapted for people with disabilities, all have front and private back gardens.
The three-storey apartment block includes a lift and communal areas such as a garden, lounge, bike store and motorised wheel chair charging and storage facilities.
All the homes have recycling bins and are built to the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Level 3 standard, which means they have 25% less carbon emissions than normal homes.
The official opening was performed by Railway Housing Association Board Member Anne Mumford. Anne lives in Spennymoor and over the years has been a member of Spennymoor Town Council, Mayor of Spennymoor Town Council, member of Sedgefield Borough Council and Mayor of Sedgefield Borough Council.
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