Villagers have thrown their support behind plans for more affordable homes in Harbury - after a similar scheme significantly boosted the community.
The homes, off Bush Heath Lane, have already had a positive impact on the community by providing much-needed affordable accommodation for people with a connection to the area, through work or family ties for example.
Villagers are now supporting WRHA’s second phase of development plans, which were unveiled at a public consultation event this month (Saturday, 3rd March).
The scheme, to be built by developer Linfoot Homes next to the first phase of development, comprises 10 WRHA homes for social rent and 17 for local market sale.
Outline planning permission has been granted and WRHA will now, with community support, go back to Stratford-on-Avon District Council for full permission to start development.
Neil Gilliver, Development Services Officer at WRHA, said: “We are very pleased because the public consultation went extremely well.
“Around 100 people came from the village and were very supportive. We also received about 20 applications for the new homes, which shows the level of demand for affordable homes in Harbury.
“Some people who attended were residents from the first phase of our Harbury development and they told us how happy they are living there.
“Residents were really positive about how we work with the community to make sure homes blend in, matching the local stone in existing buildings. We also received positive comments about how we allocated homes, making it a nicely balanced community with a good mix of younger and older residents.”
Subject to final approval, construction will start in August and take about 18 months to complete.
The first phase of the Hereburgh Way scheme – which marked the milestone completion of WRHA’s 500th home – comprised 22 houses, including 13 WRHA properties for affordable rent to local people. It was part-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, the national housing and regeneration agency for England.
As part of the development agreement, specialist provider WRHA and partner Linfoot Homes made financial contributions to help sustain community facilities in Harbury, including the local library, footpaths and public transport.
They made a £55,000 contribution towards education in the area, to the benefit of pupils attending Harbury Church of England Primary School and Southam College secondary school.
WRHA also challenged pupils from the primary school to take part in a house-drawing competition to develop links and raise awareness about the need for affordable homes. The competition included a £50 prize which has been spent on garden tools for Earthworms, an eco-friendly group of green-fingered pupils who help look after the school grounds.
Headteacher Denis Daly said: “Harbury is an expensive place to live and it is difficult for young people to stay in the village, so the WRHA development has helped the community in that way by providing more affordable homes.
“A number of our parents live in the new development – some had children here before, while others are new families who have been able to move back to their home village or closer to work.
“Keeping people in the village, who would otherwise have to move out, is beneficial to the community as a whole, helping to sustain not just the school but also local services and businesses.”
Anna Scholder-Harper moved into WRHA’s 500th house – in Hereburgh Way – last summer. Anna, who has has cerebral palsy and needs 24-hour support, was previously living in the village with her father but she thrilled to finally have her own place and gain more independence.
Her father, Steve Harper, said: “Anna moving into the bungalow has been life-changing in the most positive way possible. She is growing in confidence, directing her life the way she wants, and really blossoming as her independence and control grows.
“I know that there have been challenges but this opportunity means so much to Anna and we are very grateful to WRHA for all their efforts to make this work.”
The Harbury development is being built under Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s “Local Choice” initiative, where communities drive and promote developments that meet the housing needs they have identified.
The WRHA homes for social rent in phase two will include six two-bedroom and two three-bedroom houses and two two-bedroom bungalows.
All homes will feature energy saving features and be built to the Lifetime Homes Standard, so they are easily accessible and adaptable to meet residents’ changing needs.
To be eligible for the WRHA homes, residents need to have been born in the parish, lived or worked there for at least 12 months or have close family members living in the area.