Six reasons to celebrate for affordable home-seekers in Bearwood

Leading social housing provider Stonewater has marked the official opening of a new mini-development of six affordable rental homes in Anjou Close, Bearwood.

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Stonewater has been working with Borough of Poole and local contractors Glossbrook Builders to deliver the attractive mini-scheme to help alleviate a chronic shortage of affordable rental housing in the area where typical private rents are well over a third (39%) of the average local wage. Anjou Close is part of an established residential estate in Bearwood and the new Stonewater homes have been built on Council-owned woodland at the head of a small cul-de-sac.

The new mini-development on the north-east edge of Poole, offers a mix of three two- bedroom houses, two three-bedroom larger family houses, and a purpose-built, two-bedroom bungalow adapted for people with reduced mobility.

“Many local home-seekers are finding themselves priced out of desirable locations like Poole which is one of the most expensive places to rent in the country,” says James Bradbury, Stonewater’s Head of Development (West). “These new rental homes in Anjou Close respond to a local need for both good quality, low-cost family housing and a bungalow adapted for a specific client. We are delighted to have partnered with Borough of Poole on this much-needed scheme which will enable local people on modest incomes to live and work in the area close to their family and friends.”

The six energy-efficient rental properties, which have private gardens and good parking provision, are within easy reach of local schools and other amenities, including the community library. Anjou Close also has good public transport links into Poole town centre and nearby Bournemouth.

The £1 million Anjou Close development has been financed by Stonewater with additional grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and Borough of Poole.

Commemorative art installation

As part of its commitment to creating a sense of place and identity in its developments, Stonewater commissioned artist Edward Johnson in association with ‘a space arts’, to design and create a public art installation in the form of a steam-bent oak pennant, for Anjou Close residents.

Etched on the pennant is a poem by writer Amy Lloyd, which talks about how even the life of a noble person in the 12th century could be quite harsh. The poem was inspired by Eleanor of Aquitaine, who married Henry of Anjou (Henry II), and was the Queen consort of France and England during the Crusades. Anjou Close is accessed from Eleanor Drive and several other local roads are named after this time in history.

Cllr Karen Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing, says: “We are firmly committed to delivering more affordable housing in Poole - with almost 1,000 families on the housing register it is vital that we continue to make this a top priority. Since 2012 we have delivered 105 new affordable homes using council owned land and assets and these additional 6 new homes in Anjou Close are part of a further 171 affordable homes being delivered through schemes currently on site in Poole.”

Stonewater owns and manages over 700 homes across Poole and is currently constructing two smart new developments of 19 affordable apartments on the site of the former Citizen’s Advice office building in Lagland Street. The project is due for completion in early summer next year.