I’ve been with Homes and Communities Agency Chairman Robert Napier in Wiltshire today, visiting two great (but very different) housing projects.
We visited the fantastic Kingston Mills in Bradford-on-Avon, where HCA investment has unlocked the stalled transformation of an iconic former textile factory into 170 new homes, retail and office space.
Nearby in Codford, Mr Napier also officially opened six new homes developed by Wiltshire Rural Housing Association, with support from the HCA. We were lucky to meet a young couple who move into their new home tomorrow, just in time for the birth of their son (who is due on Saturday).
The fact that affordable housing provided by these developments is needed cannot be disputed: Wiltshire councillor Howard Greenman said there are 12,500 people on the county’s housing waiting list, adding that local house prices are currently more than 11 times the average yearly wage for the area. It’s sobering to hear such statistics, but that didn’t detract from the sense of achievement in Codford.
And event organisers even considered local wildlife, by getting Mr Napier to open a ‘hedgehog house’ which will be based in a nature reserve behind the new development.
‘Creature comforts’ indeed.