MP opens 25 new affordable homes on historic Saffron Walden site

SAFFRON Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst has opened a housing scheme 25 new affordable apartments.

The scheme - built on the original footprint of the historic Bell Language School – provides modern, sustainable homes within a sensitively designed building.

The Conservative backbencher officially unveiled the Hastoe Housing Association properties on Friday. The ceremony included a tour of some of the apartments.

Chief executive of Hastoe Sue Chalkley said: “We were granted planning permission for this site just as the downturn hit.

“It would have been easy to abandon the scheme but we knew how high demand was for affordable housing here so we worked with the developer and Uttlesford District Council to deliver the affordable housing part of the scheme in advance of the homes for sale.

“Shops, post offices, schools and pubs are disappearing as local people are being priced out of rural communities, so this type of scheme is vitally important.”

Area manager for the Homes and Communities Agency Robert Moore said: “We are pleased to have been involved in the delivery of these quality affordable homes for local people. They are a great example of how partnership working can deliver against real local needs.”

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A spokesman for Hastoe said the scheme is “an example of how excellence in design and planning can deliver affordable homes for local people in a rural market town”.

The company is supporting the National Housing Federation Rural Housing Week (July 11-15) to raise awareness of the value of affordable housing for keeping local communities and villages alive. The week is being coordinated by the housing federation, which represents 1,200 not-for-profit independent housing associations.

The Saffron Walden scheme cost �3.28 million with �741,900 provided by the Homes and Communities Agency. The scheme provides a mix of one and two bedroom apartments for rent and shared ownership.

The developer is Brookgate (formerly Ashwell), the architect Vincent Gorbing/Simon Ward Architectural Design, the contractor Cocksedge, and the employer’s agent Davis Langdon.