Stonewater completes 46 affordable homes to help priced-out Dorset locals

A ribbon-cutting ceremony today has marked the completion of 46 affordable homes for local people in Pemberly, a new Stonewater development in Littlemoor, near Weymouth.

The completion coincides with the publication of Home Truths 2016/2017, the National Housing Federation’s (NHF) annual report on the state of England’s housing market which shows the cost of a home in Dorset is now almost 12.2 times the average local salary, and typical rents more than a third (38%) of local workers’ take-home pay. The report reveals Dorset to be one of the most expensive places to live in the South West with the average house price now £295,202.

“We hope our new Pemberly development will go some way towards helping tackle the shortage of affordable housing in the area, particularly the availability of good-quality low-cost rental homes at a price people in different financial circumstances can realistically afford,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Executive Director for Development. “Last year housing associations were responsible for almost a third of all new affordable homes built in England, making a significant contribution to tackling the housing crisis and helping the Government deliver its housebuilding programme.

“For every £1 of public money we receive for housing, Stonewater invests another £6 of its own money to create a range of affordable housing for people in different financial situations. This includes homes for low-cost rent enabling those who want to buy to save money, as well as affordable shared ownership, and good-quality housing for the poorest and most vulnerable members of the communities we serve.”

Stonewater worked with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and Dorset-based construction company FH Cummings Unlimited on the Pemberly scheme, which to date has provided a mix of 40 two- and three-bedroom homes for affordable rent, and six two- and three-bedroom homes for shared ownership which start at £68,000 for a 40% share. Stonewater will deliver a further two two-bedroom and five three-bedroom houses for shared ownership in Spring next year.

Councillor Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing, says: “It’s great that this development is providing much needed affordable housing for local residents. These affordable homes will provide an essential contribution to the sustainability of the local community and assist the local housing need.”

Pemberly is a 176-home development by regional builder FH Cummings, which includes 53 affordable homes for Stonewater. Each of the new homes has been delivered to a Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 equivalent standard, which measures energy efficiency and helps keep running costs low. The smart new development is also within easy walking distance of shops, local transport and amenities.

According to the Home Truths report, there are 21,000 new households forming each year in the region but less than 19,000 homes were built in 2015.

“As one of Britain’s most expensive regions, the South West has experienced first-hand the brunt of the housing crisis, says Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the National Housing Federation in the South West. “The spike in house prices has had a devastating impact on rural communities, especially with young families being priced out. This is having a knock-on effect on local amenities, including shops and schools, and is detrimental to everyone.

“As this year’s Home Truths report shows, the number of homes built is far below what the region needs to keep up with demand. Housing associations are a vital part of the solution to the housing crisis. The sector is buoyed by the additional funding and flexibility secured in the Autumn Statement and is ambitious about delivering even more houses.”