2nd July 2014

Much-Needed Affordable Rural Homes Open In Steppes

Raglan Housing celebrated the creation of much-needed affordable rural housing  this month with the official opening of Nine Barrow View, a brand-new development of eight rental properties in Steppes, Langton Matravers, on the Isle of Purbeck. The smart new homes - which are close to the popular seaside town of Swanage and exclusively for local people – built by C G Fry & Son were opened by Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset.

Nine Barrow View, which the housing association has delivered in partnership with Purbeck District Council, Langton Matravers Parish Council and regional contractors C G Fry, was financed by Raglan with an additional £155,000 of grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Richard Drax MP said: "I was both impressed by the location and standard of these homes, which are much needed in areas like ours. The development was sensitively done, with clearly a lot of thought going into the design of the house and the high grade fittings. What I also liked was the fact there was room for all the families to breathe and take in the glorious view across Purbeck. These homes are an example of what can be achieved if everyone works together and now eight local families have the security of a home in an area they simply could not afford to live in otherwise."

Chronic affordable housing shortage

The scheme with its stunning coastal and countryside views, provides a mix of four two-bedroom flats and two two-bedroom houses each accommodating up to four people; and two three-bedroom houses for up to five people. The homes are all self-contained with their own gardens. The north side of the development has been designed to provide open space and a children’s play area for residents.

“The chronic shortage and high cost of rural housing in the Purbeck area is forcing many families and young people on modest incomes to leave their communities, taking away the labour force which these communities rely on to survive,” said Richard Stevenson, Raglan’s Business Development Director. “There is an urgent need to provide local people with good quality housing within their communities which they can afford. These people are the lifeblood of our villages and hamlets and vital to the long-term survival and sustainability of local businesses, schools, pubs and essential services. Small affordable schemes like Nine Barrow View have a significant role to play in helping to revitalise our countryside villages, create jobs and drive rural economic growth.” 

The new homes have been built to Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes standard and are equipped with gas central heating and gas savers to help keep residents’ overall energy bills as low as possible.

Michael Dear, Commercial Director for C G Fry & Son, said: “We are delighted to have been part of this project with Raglan Housing which will provide much-needed affordable homes to the local community.   In addition to the new houses and flats, we also installed new central heating systems in eight existing properties on the site to bring them up to modern standards. The project has gone well and we have enjoyed working with the Raglan team.”

Councillor Mike Lovell, Housing and Development Spokesperson for Purbeck District Council, said:  “Meeting the housing needs of local people is one of Purbeck District Council’s priorities and this development offers much-needed accommodation in the district.  

“Protecting and enhancing Purbeck’s natural environment is another priority of the council.  The environment which attracts so many visitors to the area also poses challenges for development, with limited opportunities for large scale housing development.  The Council therefore appreciates the contribution schemes of this type make to meet the housing needs of local people and to sustain our communities.”

Nine Barrow View marks the completion of phase two of the affordable housing development which is built on a green field exception site on land directly behind eight existing affordable Raglan homes constructed in 1993. As part of the project, residents in the older properties also had their homes upgraded and made more energy-efficient with the installation of new kitchens and thermally-efficient windows and central heating systems.

Bruce Voss, HCA Area Manager, said: “As the government body responsible for providing affordable housing in England, we know how important these developments are in areas like Purbeck. We’ve worked closely with partners to help them bring forward development on this site and I am sure it will make a huge difference to the local community. It’s a testament to partners’ efforts and great to see the homes completed.” 

Raglan Housing has further local housing developments in nearby Harman’s Cross, Worth Matravers, Studland and Swanage.