The involvement of the community in consultation on housing for local people is key to Pembrokeshire County Council plans for the social housing development at Brynhir, Tenby, local Town Councillors have heard.
Council representatives, including Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Michelle Bateman, new Chief Housing Officer Gaynor Toft, and the Council’s lead officer for the project, Chris Pratt, spoke to Tenby Town Council last month.
Pembrokeshire Council was granted outline planning permission for a development of 144 properties in 2020.
At Brynhir 102 of the homes will be rented social housing, where the rent is lower than market rent, and will not be available for purchase.
A Local Lettings Policy will ensure that those with a connection to Tenby and the surrounding area are prioritised for the new properties.
These will stay in Council ownership – the Right To Buy, which enabled tenants of council housing to buy their properties, was abolished in Wales in January 2019.
There will also be eight shared ownership homes on the land, which will help those who cannot afford to buy a home on their own to get a step on the property ladder.
The remaining properties will be available to buy on the open market.
Work to date has seen topographical surveys completed, and ecological surveys going above and beyond statutory levels.
Tenby Town Councillors said the Brynhir development “will be a wonderful site and place to live.”
Town Councillors said it was important to quash rumours that houses would be ‘sold off to the rich’ immediately after being built.
“Some in Tenby object as they still think it is all about the pounds, shillings and pence and we need to get the true facts out,” members said.
They added: “This is local housing for local people and about community cohesion which is critical in terms of supporting people to remain within their local community.”
The Brynhir development is one of a number within the Council’s ambitious development programme, which will see new Council homes being built across Pembrokeshire for the first time in a generation.
Old School Lane at Cranham Park, Johnston, the very first development, is due for completion in December.
Cllr Michelle Bateman, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are really excited about our build programme and the opportunities this will provide – not only to provide good quality new homes to local people, but by providing employment opportunities too.
“The Council will be actively engaging with the community to ensure that local views are taken into account, from start to finish. We know it is important to our communities to have a say in the developments that we build.
“We are looking forward to working together to make sure that community needs are reflected in the homes that get built, and in who goes on to live in them. In this way, we aspire to create sustainable communities.”
Recreation and ecology are central to the Brynhir design, which will include a multi-use games area, two equipped play areas, open space and a five metre wide ecological buffer around the central field.
This buffer will create a circular walk around the development, and give more opportunities for the existing ecology and biodiversity to flourish.
The site is located next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and surveys considering trees; mammals, such as dormice; reptiles; and bats have all been completed.
Wherever possible, the development will aim to actually enhance, rather than reduce biodiversity.
Mitigating measures planned include employing the Council’s new bat-friendly lighting strategy that aims to ensure that any developmentsminimise the impact on local bat corridors.
The development team are also looking at using MMC (modular methods of construction) for the site as these properties tend to generate less material waste, are safer to build and more energy efficient to run.
Full details of the design and layout of the properties will be decided in consultation with partners and will be based on evidenced need. The development will be sympathetic to the local building style, and will be built to net carbon zero standards in line with our need to build environmentally sustainable homes.
Completion of the properties will take place in phases, with approximately 30 houses set to be delivered annually over a period of five years.
The development team is in the process of procuring the services of a multi-disciplinary design team to progress the scheme through to full planning stage.
The Council currently hopes to gain full planning permission and start construction on the site by 2022-23. Concept plans will be shared publically once available.
(Lead image: The Urbanists / RLH Architectural / Pembrokeshire Council)