Local veterans to gain construction skills and homes

Herefordshire armed forces veterans will gain valuable construction skills and experience whilst building their own brand-new homes, thanks to an innovative community partnership being led by social housing provider Stonewater in Leominster.

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The scheme will see nine veterans work alongside a local construction company to build a small development of 19 affordable new homes in Waterworks Lane, Leominster. During the course of the build they will learn valuable, employment-ready construction skills on the job, and, once the scheme is completed, they will be given the chance to live in the new flats and houses they have built.

The current housing scheme at Waterworks Lane, which is owned by Stonewater, was built in the 1970s, and is old, unattractive and not fit-for-purpose. Working alongside Herefordshire Council, the Royal British Legion and the Veterans Self-Build Agency, Stonewater will replace the existing 16 apartments with 10 one-, two- and three-bedroom houses and nine one- and two-bedroom apartments. The new development will also feature attractive community outdoor space and showcase locally-produced public art.

Once planning permission has been granted, it is anticipated that demolition of the current scheme will commence in January 2019, and the veterans will be on site at the scheme learning their new trades from spring 2019. Tenants currently living in Waterworks Lane are positive in their support of the redevelopment and are being rehoused by Stonewater during the construction of the new homes. They will have the opportunity to move into the new homes, alongside their new veteran neighbours, when the scheme is completed.

Clare Bray, Development Manager for Stonewater, says: “We are thrilled to be working alongside the veterans to redevelop and reinvigorate this tired and unattractive scheme into a modern, family-oriented social housing development. The veterans will learn valuable skills during the build which will help them find permanent employment in the future, and will also be building homes for them and their families to live in.

“Working with veterans is something new for Stonewater, and we are looking forward to working with them, Herefordshire Council, the Royal British Legion and the Veterans Self-Build Agency to create a new development that we can all be proud of.”

This activity is supported by Herefordshire Council’s role as a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant: a promise by the nation to ensure all those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
Councillor Paul Rone, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, adds: "I'm really excited to pledge Herefordshire Council’s support for this fantastic housing project. This scheme has the potential to change the lives of the veterans and their families by providing long-term stable accommodation and skills that may lead to securing future employment. Hopefully this is the first of many similar projects.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the scheme is invited to attend an information evening on Wednesday, 5 September from 5-7pm, at Grange Court, Pinsley Road, Leominster. Attendees will be able to view the plans and hear more about the scheme. Representatives from Stonewater, Herefordshire Council and the Royal British Legion will also be there to share information and to answer questions.

For more information contact Clare Bray, Stonewater Development Manager on 02380 658836.

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