Bath City

Major development in Bridgwater will contain more than double the number of affordable homes as originally planned Bath City News

A major development in Bridgwater will contain more than twice as much affordable housing as originally proposed. Countryside Properties presented detailed plans in January to deliver 260 homes on Bower Lane, on the north side of the A372 Westonzoyland road and a short distance from the M5 motorway.

The plans – the third iteration of proposals for the “Strawberry Grange” site – were originally only going to include 31 affordable housing units (the equivalent of just 12%). But that has now been boosted significantly through a new partnership with housing association LiveWest – with hopes construction could start as early as July if planning permission is granted.

The new homes will be accessed via a new roundabout on the A372, which will also eventually serve a planned development of 560 homes on Dunwear Lane immediately to the south. A new secondary road will start at this roundabout and will eventually link the new homes to the A39 Bath Road, with Somerset County Council releasing different plots of land as new development proposals come forward.

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With the new agreement between Countryside and LiveWest, backed by funding from Homes England, the Bower Lane site will provide 78 affordable homes, meeting Sedgemoor District Council’s target of 30% affordable housing for any new development of ten homes or more.

Although the District Council has yet to grant clearance for the Countryside program, LiveWest representatives say the process is “moving along” and approval is expected to take place in early May. This would allow work to begin on the site in June or July, with the first accommodations available at the end of 2023.

Planned site of the 260 houses on Bower Lane in Bridgwater (Image: LiveWest)

James McLoughlin, Head of Partnerships at Countryside, said: “The South West is a new region for Countryside and we are delighted to have partnered with LiveWest to deliver these affordable homes on our site. This is our first project with LiveWest and we hope to build on this relationship in the future, partnering to provide affordable housing to local people.

“This site has been vacant for some time, so it will be great to see it transformed into much-needed homes for the town. We are currently seeking our reserved planning consent and hope to be on site to build these homes this summer.

“Delivering sustainable homes is at the heart of what Countryside does and the carbon footprint of the homes we produce in our factories are 25% lower than traditional brick and block construction.” Countyside has already invested £30m in factories producing open-panel and closed-panel timber frame houses, as part of a drive to adopt Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

Both Homes England and the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) have identified MMC as a priority because it enables homes to be delivered quickly with less waste and a lower carbon footprint. Each of the new homes delivered will incorporate air-source heat pumps that extract renewable heat from the outside air, reducing energy bills for new homeowners.

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Sharron Taylor, LiveWest’s new Commercial Director, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Countryside to develop much needed housing for locals. The mix of affordable rental and condominium ownership will ensure that this housing is truly affordable at a time when the disparity between average wages and average house prices is increasing.

“We are committed to building vibrant communities and ensuring people can stay local. We are excited not only to meet local housing needs, but also to provide sustainable housing for the future.

“Air-source heat pumps will have a positive impact on the energy performance of homes and help customers save money on their fuel bills.”

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This notice was published: 2022-04-07 16:30:00

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