The region’s first affordable housing scheme built to Passivhaus standards has been officially opened today (9th July) at Callaughtons Ash, Much Wenlock. A tree was planted to celebrate the new affordable homes by local celebrity marathon runner Jimmy Moore, with the help of school children from Much Wenlock Primary School.
The innovative new homes are amongst the first in the UK to be built to standards that provide super-efficient homes for local people. Triple glazing, insulation that effectively seals the house, energy efficient boilers, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) systems and thermally modified external cladding means that the predicted spend on heating and hot water is around £90 a year for a 3 bedroom house. Although the cost of the build is 20% more than a normal new build home, South Shropshire Housing Association (SSHA) believe that this is the way forward for most affordable housing.
Amongst the specially invited guests were new tenants Jodie Rhodes and her partner Michael Doughty. Currently living in Broseley, Jodie has a long family history in Much Wenlock, with her eldest relative, her 100 year old great grandad who owned A R Wellings butchers located in Sheinton Street in the 1930’s. Most of Jodie’s extended family all still live within Much Wenlock and Jodie works in a local shop.
"I am so excited to be moving back to Much Wenlock and back to my family. My daughter will be attending the local nursery in September, and I’ll be able to walk to and from work, saving me transport costs."
Michael, Jodie’s partner also works locally and is looking forward to spending more time with his family, and less time travelling. He said,
"We currently live in a second floor flat, and we can’t wait to have a garden for our daughter to play in, it will be a massive change."
The £2m build began in April 2017, with representatives sitting on a project board to help decide location, layout and type of construction. With the guidance of SSHA’s community led building consultancy, Marches Community Land Trust Services (CLTs), and adhering to the Much Wenlock Community Plan, representatives learned about construction methods, decided on landscaping and visited the local timber frame manufacturer to see the house frames in construction.
Children from Much Wenlock Primary School have also been involved by taking part in a site safety poster competition and making a visit to the site to learn about Passivhaus Principles.
The development will now house local people in two 1 bed houses, seven 2 bed houses and three 3 bed houses, two of which are being sold on a shared ownership basis. Demand for social housing in this area were so high that there were a total of 104 applications, with 27 of those satisfying the local connection criteria for this development.
Christine Duggan, Director of Housing and Communities for Connexus, of which SSHA is a part, said,
"We have worked hard to include the local community in the development of new affordable housing at Much Wenlock, and chose this site to test the Passivhaus principles of design and build. We have strived to be innovators in the affordable housing sector, whilst taking the concerns of our residents with regards to fuel poverty and other running costs in to consideration. We are delighted to welcome our new tenants to their new homes, and hope they will be happy in them for the years to come."
David Turner, Shropshire Councillor for the Much Wenlock Division, speaking about the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan said, ‘A number of local people put many hours of work into the Plan.
"It was very clear from all the consultations that there was a strong need for affordable social housing for local people. After further consultations supported by the Town Council, SSHA have built this small development of quality properties. They will, for the first time in Much Wenlock, provide affordable homes for people with a local connection."