New homes at Halstow Way on the site of former run down play area

Ashford Borough Council has secured more than £1 million of Government funding that will enable it to build 17 homes for affordable housing at Halstow Way in south Ashford, on the site of a former run down play area.

The council will receive £1,020,000 to help build the homes, which will be available to tenants on a social rent basis – that’s 60% of the level of open market rent. The £4.2 million development is scheduled for completion early next year.

The funding has been secured from Homes England, with £765,000 paid up front to the council and the remainder handed over on completion of the scheme. The new apartment block is a mix of one, two and three-bed homes.

Securing the Halstow Way grant is a notable achievement – it is the most amount of grant the council has achieved per unit on any development so far, equating to £60,000 per unit, recognising the social rent being delivered for the scheme.

The play area will be re-provided through the section 106 agreement as the money secured (£61,520) will be put towards informal play, sport, ecological and open space improvements in the area. This will help meet the needs generated by the development. A small number of additional parking spaces are also provided.

Halstow Way is part of a strong pipeline of sites being delivered by the council as part of its ambitious long-term plan setting out Ashford’s aspirations for delivering affordable housing. The annual report detailing the priorities in the council’s Housing Revenue Account Business Plan covering the next 30 years was approved by Cabinet only in December.

The balance of the Halstow Way scheme is being funded through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA), which is funded by tenant rents and not the council tax payer. This account is used to provide and manage social housing across the borough.

Halstow Way is one of a number of exciting developments underway in the borough. These include short stay accommodation, general needs properties, community facilities and independent living for older residents. With the needs of local people in mind, the design team ensure that they are completed to a high standard, with many schemes having received awards in recent years.

Cllr Bill Barrett, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “I’m delighted that officers have secured this funding from Homes England, which recognises our reputation as a trusted deliverer of affordable housing across the borough.

“The money will enable us to continue to deliver considerable numbers of good quality new homes for our residents. There are around 1,300 people on our waiting list and we are doing everything we can to alleviate the housing issues that we face.”

Work started on site in October 2020 and is currently scheduled to be handed over to Ashford Borough Council by contractor Jenner in January 2022.

The Halstow Way grant announcement comes just months after the council secured £2,528,911 of Homes England funding that is enabling it to build another 60 homes at two independent living schemes in the town. Nearly £1.4 million will help build 31 replacement homes at The Poplars in south Ashford, while another £1.136m will go towards the cost of providing 29 replacement homes at East Stour Court in Willesborough. The Poplars is due for completion this summer and East Stour Court in the autumn.

By Ed

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