Capsule captures Stonewater’s 2000th home in time

The planting of a time capsule by pupils from Evercreech Church of England Primary School near Shepton Mallet has marked the completion of a milestone 2000th new affordable home by ambitious social housing provider Stonewater since it was formed in 2015.

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The event was celebrated at the opening of Stonewater’s new mixed development of 30 affordable rental and shared ownership village homes for local people in Chestnut Lane, Evercreech. The shared ownership properties start at £70,000 for a 40 per cent share in a two-bedroom home compared with the average cost of a house nationally £210,402* and £270,054** in the South West which is more than 10 times typical earnings in the region, requiring a £61,700 income to afford a mortgage.

“We are truly delighted to be celebrating this fantastic achievement as a young organisation,” says Stonewater’s Chairman of the Board George Blunden. “It demonstrates the important role housing associations like Stonewater are playing in tackling Britain’s acute housing crisis.

Tackling the affordable housing shortage
“This development at Evercreech is a great example of what can be achieved when housing professionals and local authorities work together. I’m really thankful to our whole Stonewater team that has worked together to reach this impressive milestone and look forward to realising the next one!”

Residents, councillors, contractors and other VIP guests joined the housing organisation and primary school’s previous school council members (as they were involved in the naming of the road) for the special ceremony which included the planting of a pear tree with the time capsule complete with a national and local paper, the National Curriculum, a school prospectus, examples of planning and pupils’ work, and photographs of the school taken by the children.

With the lane named by Evercreech School pupils, Stonewater’s new Chestnut Lane village scheme provides a mix of 20 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom houses for low cost rent and 10 two- and three-bedroom houses for affordable shared ownership, a part-rent, part-buy scheme. The development also benefits from outdoor recreational and community spaces. Stonewater is also working with Evercreech Parish Council to create and install an outdoor community history map at the entrance to the scheme.

Head of School Jacqueline Jefferies says: “The children have been very excited by the time capsule and have enjoyed drawing pictures of themselves that they can look at again in 25 years’ time. We are grateful to Stonewater for organising the time capsule as it coincides with the school celebrating 25 years on Paradise Crescent; having moved from opposite the church.”

Financed by Stonewater and developed in partnership with Mendip District Council and family-owned local construction firm Winsley White, the new homes have benefitted from £445,660 grant funding from Homes England.

Councillor Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Growth and Housing Services at Mendip District Council says: “It is great to see Stonewater marking their 2000th affordable home at the development in Evercreech. The issue of affordable housing in Mendip is a priority for the council and we will continue to work hard to bring forward other affordable housing schemes across the district with partners and organisation like Stonewater.”

Sam Winsley at Winsley White says: “We are very proud of this 30-home scheme; it is the result of a number of years hard work by Winsley White Ltd, working in partnership with Mendip District Council. We are happy that our vision for these homes will provide much needed affordable housing in the area. We have enjoyed working closely with the school during our time on site and we are glad that they can be involved in this event to mark this milestone.”

Created in 2015 through the merger of Jephson and Raglan housing associations, Stonewater manages around 31,500 homes in England for over 65,000 customers, including affordable properties for general rent, shared ownership and sale. It also provides and manages specialist accommodation such as retirement and supported living schemes for older and vulnerable people, Foyers and women’s refuges.

Stonewater currently owns and manages 256 properties across the Mendip District.