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£30m boost for innovative homes

Housing minister Julie James has announced over £30m for innovative housing in Wales, part of a £90m fund to test new approaches to help develop social and affordable housing.

Projects to be funded under the latest round of the Innovative Housing Programme include:

  • 76 homes in Ruthin from Clwyd Alyn Housing association. These could be the first in the UK to deliver net zero whole life carbon, with renewable energy offsetting the carbon impact of production and construction. Homes will have air source heat pumps, solar power and intelligent batteries with heating and lighting costs estimated at less than £80 a year
  • Two sites developed by Monmouthshire Housing Association in Chepstow to create 17 properties for people who are downsizing and first time occupiers whose households might expand. The homes will have designed-in opportunities to add an additional bedroom to create life-long flexibility
  • Cardiff Council will build 214 low carbon homes, a mix of council housing and homes to be sold on the open market in Rumney
  • Swansea Council will build 25 homes to the ‘Swansea Standard’, a low carbon, energy efficient specification with solar panels, designed to achieve low running costs for tenants.

Also on Tuesday, finance minister Rebecca Evans announced the creation of a new Public Sector Land Division which will help the sustainable development of public sector land, in particular to increase the delivery of more social housing in Wales.

Julie James announced the new funding at Parc Yr Helyg in Birchgrove, Swansea, which received Innovative Housing Programme funding during a previous round.

She said:

‘We face serious challenges in Wales, in terms of responding to the climate emergency and also delivering more affordable housing. This programme offers us the chance to develop homes with low fuel bills to tackle fuel poverty, homes designed and built with a low carbon impact in mind, and homes that can evolve with their households.

‘We have an opportunity to deliver affordable, high-quality homes that meet all these challenges, which reduce the impact of housebuilding on the environment, and that can be built at scale to meet the needs of our communities.

‘Good quality, beautiful houses are so important to people’s lives. I look forward to seeing these projects develop and to seeing the finished builds become homes.”

Other projects receiving Innovative Housing Programme funding include:

  • Sero Homes will develop 35 homes for open market rent in Pontardawe. The net zero carbon homes will also be offered at an earlier stage through local employers to prioritise people able to use active or public transport to commute
  • In Rhos on Sea and Llanrwst, Cartrefi Conwy will build 22 low carbon homes which will scale up a previous Innovative Housing Programme project, building Beattie Passive homes in a local off-site manufacturing and training facility which supports the local supply chain
  • In Penyrheol, Swansea, Pobl and Coastal Housing Group will build 165homes, a mix of social housing, homes for affordable ownership and homes for sale on the open market. The homes will be zero carbon with renewable technologies integrated and they will be manufactured off-site.

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