A further 44 affordable homes will become available in the Borough from April with the delivery of the first phase of Spelthorne Council’s new housing development in Sunbury. 11 of these will be reserved for key workers.
The project is part of the Council’s plans to relieve housing pressure in the local area by providing good quality and affordable housing. The development converted disused commercial offices at Benwell House in Green Street into 55 one and two-bedroom apartments.
Current planning regulations do not require affordable housing when repurposing a commercial building but the decision to include this provision demonstrates the Council’s commitment to increase the supply of affordable homes in the Borough. Planning permission is currently being sought for phase two of the project which will comprise a further 39 units, of which 20 are planned to be let at affordable rents.
Cllr Maureen Attewell, Joint Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “This development is an important step in helping us meet our ambitious housing targets for the Borough, so I am thrilled to see phase one nearing completion. We all know there is a serious housing shortage and the Council is looking to tackle this issue in a green and efficient way. We believe that providing high quality housing for residents is vitally important and are working to deliver hundreds of new affordable homes over the next couple of years for our residents.”
Cllr Jim McIlroy, Joint Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Local Plan and Assets, added: “Investing in and developing key assets like Benwell House in Sunbury is enabling us to deliver attractive and affordable housing for local people. At a time when many authorities are having to make cuts to services, we are standing out as a council which is going far beyond its usual responsibilities to provide for residents. We look forward to delivering more schemes like this in the near future.”
The scheme has been designed with sustainability in mind and includes electric vehicle charging points, LED lighting, whole house ventilation and efficient underfloor heating systems. Solar panels have also been installed which can generate 10% of the energy needed for the development.
Spelthorne Council is working to deliver more than 200 affordable homes and apartments as part of other ongoing housing projects, including a key worker housing scheme at Victory Close in Ashford.
The Council will replace 21 trees (including 9 category B pine and holly trees) which need to be removed during phase two with 48 new trees which are of a better quality and a richer mix of varieties, following consultation with the Council’s tree officer. This forms part of the landscaping strategy for the property which will enhance the environment for residents and significantly improve the overall street scene. All the category A trees were retained.
It is intended that the name ‘Benwell House’ will be retained for the completed development.’
Trees with an expected life of at least 40 years are classified as category A, and those with a life expectancy of at least 20 years are classified as Category B.
The new development will provide a mix of studios and 1 and 2 bedroom accommodation. Residents will benefit from private parking, external landscaping, access to communal space with a shared kitchen, concierge desk and flexi studio. Each apartment benefits from underfloor heating and high-quality fitted kitchen appliances. The Council has appointed Dexters as letting agents for this project and the pre-letting marketing is about to commence.