A housing association has unveiled a £3.4 million landmark development of affordable homes which have provided a major boost for the local economy.
The construction of Cartrefi Conwy’s Maes Glanarfon estate in Llanfairfechan supported 200 jobs, including four apprenticeships, and was completed three months ahead of schedule.
The development is part of the organisation’s £20 million plans to build 300 new homes across North Wales.
The site includes 28 houses and apartments around a landscaped cul-de-sac in Penmaenmawr Road.
Five of the properties are available at an intermediate rent level which means rents are 20 per cent cheaper than the current market rate in Conwy.
The intermediate rent properties on this development are aimed at working people in the area including police officers, nurses, teachers and care sector staff with a household income of between £15,000 and £30,000 who do not qualify for traditional social housing but would struggle or are struggling to be able to buy or rent in the private sector.
In all there are 17 one and two bedroom apartments in a four-storey block plus seven two and three bedrooms houses and four two-bedroom cottage flats.
The first tenants are already moving in and guests, including senior managers and board members from Cartrefi Conwy, the contractors and the local authority, and local residents have been given a guided tour of the site.
Conwy-based company Beech Developments worked as principal contractor together with contractor Brenig Construction, from Colwyn Bay, who managed the site and built the properties.
Throughout the construction period a key priority was to ensure a high level of involvement by local firms and workers.
David Kelsall, Cartrefi Conwy’s Development and New Business Manager, said: “Over 200 people were involved in building Maes Glanarfon, with 64 per cent of them coming from Conwy county and 85 per cent from North Wales.
“Almost 90 per cent of the suppliers were from North Wales and 61 per cent were Conwy companies, which is a fact we’re very proud of.
“Four apprentices were involved in the scheme and 57 weeks of employment were provided for them.
“The employment opportunities were supported in partnership with Conwy County Borough Council and Welsh Government.”
He added: “We’re delighted that the development was finished three months ahead of its original target date of this April and we’re really pleased with the quality of work. “Five of the properties in the scheme, comprising a two-bedroom house and four two-bedroom cottage flats will have intermediate rents which means the tenants will be charged 20 per cent less than the market rate of the private rented sector.
“They are aimed specifically at people who are working but have net incomes of between £15,000 and £30,000. This will give them the opportunity to save for a deposit if they decide to get onto the property ladder. “We’re letting to a mix of tenants to meet the local demand within the Llanfairfechan area. Several of the families coming here are downsizing as a result of the so-called Bedroom Tax.
“The intermediate homes are also aimed at workers in the area and one of our new tenants is a nurse at a local hospital.”
Apart from its local work creation element, the construction of Maes Glanarfon has also seen lots of community involvement by the developers, according to Howard Vaughan, Director of Brenig Construction.
He said: “We did some work on Llanfairfechan Library and also had site visits from schools and youth organisations.
“We arranged a visit from the manufacturers of the external rendering used on the apartments to Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos on Sea so they could explain the technique to construction students.
“We also arranged for the students and their tutors to be briefed on the type of timber framing used in the apartment block and a number visited the site to see how it was being fitted.
“We’re extremely pleased that the development was finished three months earlier than planned, in January rather than April.”
Mike Roberts, Director of Beech Developments, said: “It’s been great to work with Cartrefi Conwy and Brenig on such a high quality scheme, which brings much-needed affordable homes to the area.
“I’m really proud of the part our company played in this very important development and hope that Cartrefi stakeholders will be extremely happy with the new homes.
We hope this will pave the way to see many more quality affordable housing projects to follow. Beech Developments have a number of housing schemes in the pipeline which will see the delivery of much needed affordable homes to the County.”
Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden: “I’m really pleased with Maes Glanarfon which is one of the largest mixed tenure estates that we have developed so far.
“It’s mixture of social and intermediate tenures gives the local community the opportunity to be housed in quality accommodation.
“We’re also pleased to be able to provide working people in the area, such as emergency and health services personnel, with safe, secure and affordable homes.
“I’d like to thank Conwy Borough County Council for the support it has given us with this development, including supporting with Welsh Government funding.
“We continue to work closely with the council’s strategic housing team. I am very grateful that the council sees Cartrefi Conwy as a significant partner in the development of new and affordable housing in Conwy county.”
Jane Richardson, Director of Economy and Place for Conwy County Borough Council, said: “After touring the development I am struck by the sensitivity of its design and the way it perfectly complements the landscape of the area.
“It’s great to see one and two bedroom apartments being included which gives people more choice and the opportunity to downsize from larger homes in this area.
“The intermediate rent homes are very important as they allow people the opportunity to save for when they decide to get onto the property ladder.
“I’m also pleased to hear that people from the immediate area will be moving in here.
“It’s great to see Cartrefi Conwy has this strategic vision, is planning for the future and is building to such a high standard.”
During the visit children from Ysgol Babanod and Ysgol Pant y Rhedyn, the two Llanfairfechan schools involved during construction of Maes Glanarfon, were also given a tour of the estate and planted a number of trees on site to mark the occasion.
Their headteacher, Matthew Jones, said: “We were delighted to have this chance to look around, especially as some of our children will be moving into the development with their families.”