March 21, 2015
Minister visits Highbridge to launch £8.5m affordable housing project

A government minister visited Highbridge on Friday (March 20th) to formally launch an £8.5m affordable housing project in the town.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, accompanied by Conservative General Election candidate for Highbridge and Burnham James Heappey, visited the former cattle market site in Highbridge to see the affordable housing scheme there.

It will provide 58 new homes on the market site, together with 22 homes on the former hotel site, in partnership with the YMCA.

The new development is being overseen by Sedgemoor District Council and also involves the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Knightstone Housing Association and Bovis Homes.

In North Sedgemoor - within the Wells constituency that includes Burnham - construction of affordable houses are at their highest levels since 2010, with 117 new homes anticipated in 2015/15 and 111 already under construction for 2015/16.

James Heappey said: "Sedgemoor District Council are to be congratulated on delivering yet another quality affordable housing scheme and for doing so on a brownfield site. Homeownership is the ambition of so many people but house prices and the size of the deposits needed are too often a barrier."

"Whether for shared ownership or rental, these houses are much needed and will allow local people to escape the waiting list and to live in a good quality home."

Chris Grayling said: "I’m grateful to Sedgemoor District Council, Knightstone and Bovis for showing me around this development. We need a good supply of affordable homes to give people the opportunity and security that comes with having a home of their own. It is great that this development will provide much needed affordable housing for local people whilst utilising a brownfield site."

Sedgemoor councillors attending Friday's event included Chairman Peter Downing, Councillor Andrew Gilling, Sedgemoor’s portfolio holder for housing, and Bob Filmer Chairman of the Development Committee.

Councillor Gilling said: "This council has overseen the delivery of record numbers of affordable homes in recent years – punching above our weight in helping to meet the demand from local people."

"Together, the council and its partners continue to work in finding new and innovative ways to source and finance affordable housing schemes."

"With new jobs, industry and infrastructure projects such as Hinkley ‘C’, it is vital that we re-affirm our commitment to increasing and sustaining the delivery of new affordable housing and build on out strong record of helping who would otherwise face difficulty in finding their own home."

Since 2008, Sedgemoor District Council has been responsible for the generation of 1,600 new affordable homes across the district, and bringing back into use 1,900 empty private or commercial premises.

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