Magna Housing has worked together with Countryside Partnerships and Somerset Council to provide 67 new, affordable homes to help meet the need for local housing in Williton, west Somerset.
Built by Countryside Partnerships, part of the Vistry group, Orchard Brooks consists of a mix of timber-frame homes, from one-bed flats to four-bedroom family homes, 60 of which are now fully occupied.
Magna has recently completed the purchase of seven additional homes, including three bungalows offering level ground-floor access with the ability to be converted for people with health and care needs.
This means Magna has been able to offer nearly three-quarters of the whole 90-home development as affordable homes for both social rent and shared ownership.
They’ve helped people like Ollie and his wife make a home in the area and get a foot on the housing ladder by buying a shared ownership home with Magna.
Ollie says, “I had been renting for five years and the only way to get on the ladder was through shared ownership, especially in west Somerset.
“It’s a new-build, so you’ve got everything you need. Work is just round the corner, so I don’t have to do a massive commute, and my wife has just got a job up the road.
“Our next step would be to buy more of the property and try to own it before moving on.
“I sit in my garden and think, ‘Wow’, it’s massive for a new-build. My wife and I feel proud and grateful for what we’ve got.”
Magna’s share of Orchard Brooks was delivered through three separate contracts. These include:
- 32 homes provided through the Section 106 planning agreement with the developer to provide at least 35% affordable homes.
- 28 homes funded by a grant from Homes England’s Affordable Homes Programme, Magna’s strategic partnership with other housing associations, and a financial contribution by Somerset Council.
- And seven homes (three three-bed bungalows and three four-bed houses) purchased by Magna from Countryside Partnerships. These homes also have local authority funding to support the provision of larger homes in the area.
Of these, 36 have already been let and 24 sold as shared ownership homes.
Orchard Brooks is located within the heart of Williton, close to local amenities including schools, shops and businesses, and includes a newly opened children’s play area.
Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture at Somerset Council, said:
“These are the first affordable homes to be delivered in Williton since 2015 and have provided much needed affordable housing for the local community including the opportunity to get on the housing ladder through shared ownership, which may otherwise be unaffordable.
“Somerset Council is committed to working with parish and town councils, and housing associations to increase the number of affordable homes in our area, making a real difference to the quality of life for some of our eligible residents, while supporting the creation of sustainable communities.”
Paul Read, Magna’s Director of Sustainability and Investment, said:
“It has been fantastic to work in partnership with the developer and the council to provide a significant number of affordable new homes to meet the local need. And it’s even better to see people moving in and building lives and a community at Orchard Brooks.
“This scheme continued to be developed through the pandemic and overcame huge challenges, such as labour and material shortages, to provide affordable homes when they are needed most during a cost-of-living crisis.”
Peter Sadler, Managing Director at Countryside Partnership South West, said:
“Working in partnership with Magna and Somerset Council we have been able to successfully deliver sustainable homes, a new community and social value, leaving a lasting legacy of places people love.
“This vibrant new community in Williton is a great example of partnership working at its finest, showcasing a mix of tenures making home ownership an opportunity for all. Seeing the happy new home-owners now living at Orchard Brooks is a great achievement.”
Watch the partners and shared owner Ollie speak about the new homes: