A housing association has given a sneak preview of a planned eco village of nearly 130 low carbon homes.
Cartrefi Conwy has for the first time revealed artist’s impressions of the proposed development on the 12-acre plot alongside Towyn Road in Pensarn, near Abergele.
The former Inter Leisure site already has planning permission for housing after it was secured by the previous owners.
Cartrefi will be embarking on a round of public consultation over the summer and anticipates applying for permission to amend the existing permission in the autumn.
If it’s given the go-ahead by Conwy County Borough Council planners, it will be Cartrefi’s biggest ever housing scheme, with the overall cost topping the £30 million mark.
The properties will be built using a modular design with the timber frames and posi-joists – a metal web sandwiched between two timber flanges through which cables and pipes can be threaded – being made by Cartrefi’s subsidiary, Creating Enterprise, at their factory in Rhyl.
The plan includes a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom affordable homes and will help combat the severe shortage of housing in the area.
All of the 128 properties will be built to passivhaus standards, with an energy efficient design so that they maintain an almost constant temperature at a very low cost.
Each of the homes will have solar panels on the roof and the properties will have electric car charging points outside as part of Cartrefi’s drive towards Net Zero.
The wooden fencing and garden sheds for the scheme will also be made by Creating Enterprise using sustainable Welsh timber.
During construction, there will be work experience, training and job opportunities for Cartrefi tenants and local people who are currently unemployed.
The development is part of Cartrefi’s strategy to build 1,000 homes with rock bottom energy bills and dovetails with the Welsh Government’s strategy to deliver affordable, energy efficient homes to tackle fuel poverty.
David Lowe, the Development Land Manager at Cartrefi Conwy, said: “The beauty of the Passivhaus modular system is that in can be configured in different ways – ranging from a single story one-bedroom property to a two-storey family home.
“High performance insulation will be used to make the homes completely draught free, cutting heat loss to create a home with minimal environmental impact.
“This scheme could not be more timely because energy costs have sky rocketed adding to people’s money worries.
“This development will help ease those pressures because the energy costs of the homes in Pensarn will be 80 per cent cheaper than traditionally built homes of a similar size.”
The scheme will comprise traditional social housing while some of the homes will be available or intermediate rent – 20 per cent lower than the local market rate to enable people, including key local workers to save for a deposit to buy their own home.
According to Cartrefi Conwy Managing Director Katie Clubb, the need for the development was underlined by the fact there are 1942 on the waiting list for social housing in Conwy.
She said: “This will be a landmark scheme for Cartrefi Conwy and will be our biggest ever housing development with 100 per cent affordable homes, so this is incredibly exciting.
“It has been made possible thanks to the financial support we’ve had from the Welsh Government to acquire the land.”
Adrian Johnson, Deputy Chief Executive of the Cartrefi Conwy Group, believes it will be a hugely significant development that will revolutionise the social housing market in North Wales, whilst also providing a massive boost to the regional economy.
He said: “We are essentially creating a virtuous circle because we will be using local labour and suppliers wherever possible.
“The timber frames, the posi-joists, the fences and the garden sheds will be made by Creating Enterprise for whom this is the equivalent of three years’ worth of orders for our factory in Rhyl.
“We are creating work and training opportunities for those who are furthest from the jobs market and this has the potential to be life-changing for those involved.
“Creating Enterprise does what it says on the tin and is at the heart of Cartrefi Conwy’s overall mission to build brilliant low carbon homes while producing income that will be recycled for the benefit if the communities we serve. This is profit with a purpose.”