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Breathing new life into Yew Tree as work starts on affordable homes in Shifnal

Construction began this week at Housing Plus’ latest affordable housing scheme in Shropshire, Shifnal’s Yew Tree Court.

The development, that boasts 30 new self- contained two bed apartments and three bungalows, all for the over 55’s, has been created in recognition of the region’s rapidly growing ageing population, which is expected to increase by 72 per cent by 2020.

Housing Plus was chosen by the then Bridgnorth District Council, now Shropshire Council, as its preferred partner to develop the £3.5 million housing scheme. Of this amount, £1.3 million was provided as grant funding by the Homes and Communities Agency, as part of its continuing commitment to affordable housing in rural areas.

Built on behalf of South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA), each self-contained apartment will feature its own kitchen, bathroom and lounge all behind the resident’s own front door. To compliment this, there will also be a residents’ lounge and kitchen to enable both formal and informal social engagements. Finally, a dedicated concierge service ensures the building is kept secure and the grounds and shared areas are well cared for.

To reduce hefty fuel bills and the environmental impact, each of the self-contained apartments has been designed to be energy efficient and have minimal heat loss. The scheme will also utilise rainwater harvesting and features a number of installations to support local wildlife. The homes are in fact so eco-friendly that both the apartments and bungalows have been awarded excellent environmental credentials.

The new homes have also been designed with ease of living in mind. Special investment has been made to install level-access showers, non-slip flooring, waist-high electrical sockets, a secure door entry system, a call system and assistive technology.

Ursula Bennion, director of business development at Housing Plus comments: “As we get older it can be a daunting prospect to think that you may have to sacrifice your independence for a little more support and security in the home, but we believe you shouldn’t have to make that sacrifice. Developments like Yew Tree offer local people the opportunity to retain independence in their own secure home with support services right on the doorstep.”

Yew Tree Court is the Association’s fourth development in Shifnal, reflecting SSHAs ongoing commitment to the area. Focus shifted to Shifnal’s affordable housing needs back in August 2006 when they launched The Grove; a development of six two-bedroom flats for rent. Thanks to its success, the company went on to develop Cornmill Gardens in 2008, and in recognition of a need for shared ownership homes, the development of six apartments were available to both part-buy and rent. Only last year, SSHA also unveiled seven more affordable homes on Church Street, Shifnal.

Shirley Harper, Housing Options Manager at Shropshire Council comments: “Providing quality affordable housing for local people is extremely important to us. We work closely with organisations like Housing Plus to identify the needs of our towns and villages and develop homes to meet this need.”

The Yew Tree Court development is set for completion at the end of the year. For further information about Housing Plus or the Yew Tree Court development call 01785 312312 or visit www.housing-plus.co.uk.

Celebrating the start on site at Yew Tree Court, Shifnal.