This week is #RuralHousingWeek and the perfect opportunity to share more about the great work we’re doing to build new homes in our local communities and also how we’re improving our existing homes.

2023 is heralding a whole new approach for rural communities in the South of England. Through Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), we’re delivering homes customers want, manufactured off-site and delivered into communities, reducing disruption and waste normally associated with having new homes built.

In June we completed our first rural modular build scheme in the beautiful Village of Halstock, in Dorset. The land was purchased from a local couple who were keen to ensure that young people would have the same opportunities to live in their local community as they had when they started out in life. These new homes are on a gateway site into the village so they had to be beautiful and therefore feature brick and stone elevations, solar panels and are all electric ready for net zero.

Magna’s portfolio of homes has been designed for manufacture by Rollalong, a Dorset-based manufacturer, and is being used in towns and villages across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. The portfolio of 12 house types comes with a wide array of finishes and features to be able to seamlessly align into the region’s wonderfully diverse architectural heritage, or where communities want, to bring more modern designs to sit alongside traditional street scenes.

We’ve partnered with Rollalong and Wiltshire Council, committing to delivering a total of 109 new modular homes between us, with these latest homes going beyond current building regulations to deliver enhanced air tightness and insulation and our next rural scheme in Maiden Newton will be on site later this year.

Paul Read, Director of Sustainability and Investment at Magna, said: “I have been invited to talk to rural communities looking to have more control over what gets built in their communities. They are pushing for net zero, the right homes and tenures they have identified, and to have beautiful homes that complement their particular village. It has been great this year to have the ability to showcase our new offer, to let them choose from a range of 12 house types, a pattern book of finishes and to have the quality guaranteed through precision-engineered factory processes that reduce waste, construction traffic and skips off site’.

As well as building new, modern homes for people in rural communities, we’re investing in making our existing homes more energy-efficient - making them warmer and cheaper for our customers to heat.

The cost-of-living crisis is having a big impact on our customers, especially rising energy bills, and rural homes can be more affected as the buildings tend to be older and not connected to the gas grid for heating.

Recently, together with councils and other housing associations in the South West, Magna was awarded £1.4m of Government funding towards a £3.2m programme to ‘retrofit’ some of our older, rural homes with energy-saving improvements.

Over the next two years, this will fund improvements to 87 homes across Dorset and Somerset, including roof and external wall insulation, helping keep homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer, lower people’s energy bills and cut carbon emissions.

We want this to be the start of a wider programme, helping us learn lessons and develop plans and funding bids to retrofit whole neighbourhoods.

We’re working towards all our homes achieving a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2030. Grant funding will help us achieve this goal and improve those homes that need it most.

We’ll be working closely with our customers and communities to understand what they want, assess the condition of their homes and put the right measures in place. We’re keen to work with local people and create skills and jobs to help us build healthy and sustainable rural communities.

We’re proud to be able to be creating great homes for local people that will be lived in and enjoyed for years to come. You can find out more about the homes we’re building here.