Ashford family celebrates as Kent residents take centre stage at 2,000th new home handover

Contributed by editor on May 17, 2017 - 10:25 AM


Residents took centre stage in a celebration of a remarkable achievement by landlord West Kent Housing Association.



Families living in a development of six new West Kent homes at Ryeland Way, part of the Bridgefield development at Park Farm, Ashford, were given chocolates and a gift card to celebrate the letting of the 2,000th new home built by the association.

And even as the families were cheering the 2,000th build, Chief Executive Frank Czarnowski promised: “And we are going to build another 2,000 new homes over the next decade.”

Housing director Deborah White, who met three of the families, said she was delighted to be able to celebrate such an important milestone with some of the people who had benefitted from West Kent’s commitment to building new homes.

“This is a really positive achievement,” she said. “We are dedicated to housing people and to giving them a safe and relaxed environment in which to thrive as a family.

“The homes here at Ryeland Way, which include our 2,000th new build, are a great addition to our stock. This is a mixed development which is fantastic as it helps to create a sustainable community – something else that is at the heart of our philosophy.”

While five of the impressive properties are rented, the sixth was built as a ‘shared ownership’ home, a way of getting on to the housing ladder by buying a share in a property and paying rent on the remaining portion. Shared owners can add to the amount they own over time.

“As the six homes were built as a block, we didn’t want to pick just one as the 2,000th, so we thought we would invite all the families to join the celebrations,” Deborah explained.

Charlie Kingsnorth and (left) Sarah Holdstock with Deborah White, together with children (from left) Emilie, Leyla and Courtney

West Kent was established in 1989 when it took over the housing stock previously owned by Sevenoaks District Council, but it has since expanded across the county, with homes in Medway, Tonbridge, Tonbridge Wells, Maidstone, Ashford and many other places in Kent.

While the Ryeland Way scheme marks the association’s 2,000th new build, its total stock has also been climbing and now stands at an impressive 7,000, despite the fact that many of the homes originally transferred were lost to ‘right to buy’ legislation.

One of the new tenants, Sarah Holdstock, who lives with her partner Charlie Kingsnorth and children Courtney (9), Leyla (3) and one year-old Emilie, said she “absolutely loved” her three storey home.

“We were sharing with my mum before,” she said. “There were eight of us in the house and we shared the front room with the baby. It was incredibly crowded – to move in here with all this space was just amazing.”

The family was nominated to the home by Ashford Borough Council and moved in on the day they viewed it. “We couldn’t have asked for a better place to live, and West Kent has been incredibly helpful with the move and making sure we have settled in properly,” said Sarah.

“This is just a dream come true.”

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