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Issue 295 – Affordable housing estate gets thumbs up

Flourish Homes’ plans to build 97 affordable homes for rent and a 36-unit extra care scheme in Frome is one step nearer after planning permission was granted at a planning committee last week.

Tenants of Singers Knoll and Randolph Road travelled to Mendip District Council Chamber in Shepton Mallet to hear councillors debate the future of their homes on Wednesday 24th February.
 This is Flourish Homes’ biggest development in its history. The plan is to demolish 54 homes at Singers Knoll and Randolph Road and build a new housing estate and extra care scheme in their place.
The scheme, which will cost around £17 million, will double the number of affordable homes available to rent to people in housing need and will include a number for ‘intermediate’ rent. The plan for the site, given permission last night, is for:
• 79 rented homes to be built – 54 homes will replace what’s already on the site and there’ll be an additional 25 homes
• a 36-unit Extra Care scheme
• 18 homes for the intermediate market – initially families will rent these at below market rent with the ability to part own and get on the housing ladder in the future if their circumstances improve
• 2 ‘new for old’ homes for the owner occupiers who want to stay on this estate
“This is our biggest development to date and we’re really pleased that our plans have been supported by Mendip District Council through this planning permission granted,” said Alan Brunt, managing director of Flourish Homes, which is a member of the Aster Group.
Frome is a nice town to live in but homes come with quite a price tag. There’s no doubt that affordable rented homes are much needed in the town and this scheme will provide those homes for 133 households who need them,”  
The next stage is to finalise funding for the scheme. A bid for £8million is being considered by the Homes and Communities Agency and Flourish Homes will put up the rest.
The redevelopment is part of Flourish Homes’ development strategy, which includes looking at its pre-cast reinforced concrete (PRC) homes, which are the type of homes built at Singers Knoll and Randolph Road.
Flourish Homes has around 400 of these types of homes across the area and says these homes have a lot of problems – such as being poorly insulated and expensive to maintain and improve. The company adds, “They often have large gardens, which can be a lot to maintain, and sit on large plots of ground which could accommodate more homes, still with reasonably sized gardens.
“This gives Flourish Homes an excellent opportunity to use land it owns to build modern, energy-efficient homes, which are easy to maintain and more economical to run for tenants, many of whom are on low incomes. It also offers the chance to build more affordable homes to rent, helping more people on the housing register find a suitable home.”
One homeowner has chosen to stay in her current home and plans for the estate include building around this plot.  The scheme will be built by Westbury Partnerships.

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