Hastoe holds breaking ground event for new Queen Camel housing development

Hastoe held a breaking ground event to mark the start of the build of a new housing development in Queen Camel on 8 May.
The development, being built in partnership with South Somerset District Council, will help address the real housing need in the area and the homes will be for local people.

With the average house in rural communities costing £205,727*, which is more than 10 times the average annual income of £19,396, there is an urgent need for affordable homes across the district.

Local farmer and former landowner, Laurie Chard, was tasked with breaking the ground at the field in Queen Camel where 20 new affordable homes are being built. Of these, 16 will be for rent and 4will be for shared ownership.  For rent, there will be8 two bed houses, 7 three bed houses and 1 four bed house and for shared ownership there will be 2 two bed houses and 2 three bed houses.

The homes are being built by Halsall Construction Ltd for Queen Camel Community Land Trust (CLT) and Hastoe. Queen Camel CLT has been instrumental in driving the scheme forward, from finding the site to influencing the design and materials used to build the new homes. We are particularly proud to be constructing some of the houses using locally sourced natural stone.

These new homes will be highly insulated, with triple glazed windows and a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system. This results in lower energy bills and better air quality for the residents living in the properties.

Hastoe has been generously supported by the Homes and Communities Agency with an investment of £868,000 of grant funding for this scheme.

Rosemary Heath-Coleman, Chairman of Queen Camel CLT, said: “Community Land Trusts are powerful examples of communities helping themselves. They are run by volunteers and are non-profit, community-based, organisations that develop housing, workspaces, community facilities or other assets that are owned and controlled by the community.

“The Queen Camel CLT was set up with the initial primary aim of providing affordable housing within the village for people with a strong local connection who are not able to afford market rents or house prices.  It owns the freehold of the land in perpetuity but by forming a partnership with a housing association (in our case Hastoe), it has been able to influence the housing project and generate a long-term income whilst being protected from the risks involved.   Longer term, the CLT hopes to be able to promote other enhancements to the village, its facilities and infrastructure.”

Carol Heneghan, New Business and Marketing Manager, Halshall Construction, said:

“Halsall is very pleased to be working with Hastoe and the Queen Camel CLT on this new residential development that is being built with local and traditional materials but also adopting many modern construction practices that will result in highly sustainable and energy efficient homes for local residents.”

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “For me this is the most exciting rural village housing scheme to start in South Somerset for some time.  The reason is that it is more than just some more houses, it has come about because the people of Queen Camel have a vision for their future which involves relocating the school, enhancing the community facilities and bringing in affordable housing to meet local need. 

“I have watched the whole village working together from the school children to those volunteers, like Rosemary Heath-Coleman, who have given up a big part of their life to see this scheme move from a model on a table to the delivery of real homes.  This is the biggest event in Queen Camel in several decades and I applaud the whole village for what they have achieved and they can be justly proud of themselves.”

Kevin Hartnett, Business Development Director, at Hastoe, said: “We are pleased to be delivering these much-needed affordable homes for the local people of the Queen Camel community, where local private rents and home ownership can be out of reach for some families. At Hastoe, we deliver homes that people can afford, we invest in people and communities and we are in it for the long-term.”

*Home Truths 2013/14- National Housing Federation: the average house cost being 10.6 times greater than the average wage.


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