Celebrating more affordable housing in South Somerset

Local residents, members from Stoke-sub-Hamdon Parish Council and representatives from South Somerset District Council joined social housing provider Stonewater and its scheme partners on Friday (5 July 2019) for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of its brand-new rural development, Orchid Acre Close.

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The 14 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership are located at the former Dykes Nursery site, in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, near Yeovil.

Supported by Homes England and South Somerset District Council, Stonewater has delivered the scheme in partnership with DR Jones (Yeovil) Ltd as part of its commitment to tackling the shortage of good quality, low-cost housing in the area.

“Affordable housing developments can help to secure the future sustainability of a community and its residents,” said Jonathan Layzell, Executive Director of Development at Stonewater. “We firmly believe that the delivery of small, sensitive, affordable housing schemes in rural areas is the key to reversing the steady decline of rural life and ensuring a positive future for vibrant rural communities in places like Somerset.”

Stonewater’s small rural developments offer a mix of tenures and are primarily built for people with local connections. Orchid Acre Close, for example, includes three two-bedroom and five three-bedroom houses let at an affordable rent, and six three-bedroom houses on Stonewater’s affordable shared ownership scheme.

James Bradbury, Director of Development Operations at Stonewater, said: “Schemes like Orchid Acre Close are essential for helping people that are often priced-out of good quality homes by rising house costs find high quality homes in an area that they want to live.”

To celebrate Stoke-sub-Hamdon’s history of glove making, the development also features an iron archway entrance to the community edible garden depicting the Southcombe glove factory, which was opened in 1847.

The community garden developed by Avantgardens has been filled with vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Stonewater has also given residents wooden trugs that include seeds, gardening gloves and recipes. In addition to the communal outdoor space created, each house also has its own garden and private parking.

Barbara Brooks, Chair of Stoke-sub-Hamdon Parish Council, said: “This new development of 14 affordable houses is a very welcome and much needed asset in our village. It gives young people in rural areas like Stoke the chance to stay in the locality where they grew up and so keep family generations together.”