New Affordable Passive Homes in Bearley

Bearley Parish Council hosted an in-person training event during Rural Housing Week 2022 on 5th July, one of a series by Warwickshire Rural Community Council, on how rural communities can develop affordable homes for local people.

Delegates visited Warwickshire Rural Housing Association’s new affordable passive homes in Bearley. They were joined by councillors from Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick District Councils, local parish councils and Homes England.

Arslan Erinmez, Chair of Bearley Parish Council:

“We are very proud of these affordable new homes, which were built on two small brownfield sites. They will have a very positive effect on our community, enabling people to downsize and bringing younger people, who’d had to move away, back to live closer to their families.”

The seven homes on the scheme, which is named Gwens Grove, after local resident Gwen Smith, who passed away this year aged 101, have all been allocated to local people, who are looking forward to moving in over the summer.

The scheme was supported by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, who provided £485,000 of grant support, and Homes England who provided over £400,000 of funding.

The homes are the realisation of a 20-year dream for the village, and have been built using the high-performance and low-carbon Beattie Passive construction system.

And married couple Chloe and Edward know first-hand just what a difference good-quality affordable homes make in rural areas. Chloe, who has lived her whole life in Bearley, and her husband Ed are due to move into their brand-new home in the village later this month.

“We both work full-time, but housing in Bearley is still outside our price range. We were living in a private rented home but, when the landlord sold it, we couldn’t find anywhere else affordable to live in the village.

“It’s been a very difficult time for us. All our friends and family are in the village and we work locally too. We didn’t want to leave.

“So, since September, our only option was to live apart from each other, with our respective parents. Not how married life should be!

“When we found out our application had been successful, we were delighted. We’re excited to move in.

“And, the fact that this is a passive home is amazing, as it will help keep our energy bills low.”

Each super-insulated home will also have solar panels and an air source hot water and heating system. This not only supports Stratford-on-Avon’s ambitious zero carbon plans, but will also mean much lower energy costs for the residents.

As well as providing energy-efficient, affordable housing for local people and reinvigorating a brownfield site, the development also supported the local community by employing trainees and graduates from the Stratford-based  New Meaning Training programme.

Students and graduates from New Meaning Training, an inspiring hands-on programme for young people, who didn’t engage with the traditional school system, to learn a trade, get qualifications and earn an independent living, were involved in the construction of the timber super structure.

The involvement of New Meaning is supported by Councillor Ian Shenton, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change at Stratford-on-Avon District Council who said:

“The low-carbon construction and the innovative energy saving technologies support Stratford-on-Avon’s vision to be one of the UK's first carbon-neutral districts.

“To see a number of organisations working together to provide high quality, energy efficient affordable housing whilst also teaching new skills, in a practical way, to those less well off or disadvantaged is a fantastic combination which I applaud and support wholeheartedly.”

Established in 1989, Warwickshire Rural Housing Association is a specialist housing provider, renowned for developing and managing affordable homes, for local people, where they’re most needed in Warwickshire’s rural communities. They’re committed to providing affordable homes for local people who would not otherwise be able to afford to live in the communities where they have grown up, work or have close family ties. They provide almost 600 homes for families, couples and individuals in 48 rural Warwickshire communities. For further information, please contact: Jo Haigh, Communications and Engagement Manager, 07929 844811. Read about the scheme

New Meaning Training is a social enterprise who work with young people who are not in education, training or employment (NEETs), providing person centred courses over 12 months. They take time to understand each person, their motivation, their learning styles and only then does the compnay focus on the actual learning.

Their goal is that each person leaves New Meaning Training confident in their own strengths and motivated to earn their own living. It works: current social return on investment is £9.3m. They train over 60 young people a year in construction skills and some of them now work for New Meaning to build modern affordable homes. Find out more

Rural Housing Week is an annual campaign to showcase the fantastic work that housing associations do in rural communities. This year, Rural Housing Week took place from 4th – 8th July.

The theme this year is Levelling Up Rural Communities, highlighting the need for affordable housing and in rural communities. Now, more than ever, rural housing associations are committed to their communities and to working together to help them thrive. Rural Housing Week is the perfect time to celebrate that. Read more here

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