Housing Minister makes virtual visit to innovative veterans housing scheme

This week, the Minister for Housing, the Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, made a virtual visit to Stonewater’s innovative community build development at Waterworks Lane in Leominster, Hereford.

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The Housing Minister was keen to see new affordable homes being delivered. The Minister met with Stonewater’s Chief Executive, Nicholas Harris and Executive Director – Development, Jonathan Layzell, who gave him a pre-recorded ‘virtual’ tour of the developments.

During the tour, the Minister heard about Stonewater’s work with Community Self Build Agency (now part of Alabaré, a leading UK provider of supported housing) to deliver a long-awaited community build development at Waterworks Lane in Leominster, Hereford.

Stonewater’s Waterworks Lane project aims to demonstrate how organisations can work with local councils and charities to provide much-needed new homes to those that need them most, but in the process provide these individuals and their families with valuable and transferable skills that they can then bring into the workplace.

The project will see up to nine veterans, who will all receive training and support, working alongside Stonewater’s local contractor at the development. The veterans who work on the project will then be able to rent one of the homes upon completion.

The community self-build project is the first of its kind for Stonewater and has received a great amount of support from local businesses and organisations. Stonewater worked closely with Herefordshire Council, who have also commended the scheme.

The tour also included a ‘visit’ to schemes at Pixiefields in Cradley, which is currently under construction. The visit included a discussion of how large housing associations like Stonewater can support local SME developers through sites like this, ensuring that local jobs and skills are delivered during uncertain economic conditions. They also discussed how social housing providers like Stonewater can play a leading role in the decarbonisation of housing.

Funding for both schemes is being delivered as part of funding Stonewater has received from its Homes England Strategic Partnership, which is the biggest in the UK.

Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive at Stonewater said:

“While we would have loved to bring the Minister to Waterworks Lane to see the great work that our team is doing first-hand, it was great to be able to give him a virtual tour. We’re all having to adapt to these uncertain times but by holding virtual tours like this the Government is demonstrating its commitment to delivering more affordable homes and seeing what developers and housing associations like Stonewater are doing across the country.

“At Stonewater our commitment to providing everyone with a place they can call home is at the core of everything we do. In Herefordshire, there is a large armed forces presence and so there is a constant need for veteran accommodation. We’re proud to lead the way alongside our community partners and show other organisations how important schemes like this are for the wider community. We hope to inspire others to take on similar projects in other areas of the country with similar challenges.”

Housing Minister the Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:

“Through our £12bn investment this Government is delivering affordable homes for families across the country – which includes the highest single funding commitment in a decade.

“I was delighted to “virtually” visit these affordable housing developments and learn about the work Stonewater is doing to support our veterans and to ensure new homes are both greener and more affordable.”