With the help of Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, Knightstone Housing officially broke the ground at their development of 78 new homes at Parmin Close in Taunton on Friday (9 September).
Of the 78 new homes, 66 will offer flexible retirement living for people aged over 55-years-old, and 12 will provide independent supported housing for people with learning disabilities. The development will allow residents to live independently as well as having the option of extra support if needed.
All apartments will benefit from assistive technology which can be tailored to individual needs. Other design features include underfloor heating throughout and wet room bathrooms designed for people with mobility issues. The communal spaces will provide a community feel and will help reduce isolation.
Representatives from Knightstone Housing, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council and Rydon Construction Ltd were among the attendees celebrating the start on site at the much needed supported housing scheme.
Barrie Dale, Vice Chair of the Knightstone Housing Group Board, said: “We’re delighted to mark the start of our latest Taunton development in which we’ve invested more than £10million to provide a mix of homes tailored to meet people’s needs.
“Supported housing for older people and for those with learning disabilities is an important priority for us as a housing association. As a sector, we need to ensure we’re meeting the varied needs of residents and supporting them to live independently.”
Cllr John Williams, Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “Knightstone and Taunton Deane Borough Council have worked in partnership over many years to bring this scheme to fruition. It is a delight to see much needed specialist affordable housing being delivered for older persons and those with learning difficulties, and is testament to our commitment to serving those in need.”
After its public consultation, the development was put on hold in 2015 following the Government announcement that housing benefit for housing association rents would be capped at the level of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to include specialist services like supported housing and extra care schemes.
To get the scheme off the ground, Knightstone worked with its contractors Rydon, both Taunton Deane and Somerset County councils, and the Homes and Communities Agency, to rework the mix of housing at Parmin Close to ensure it would be financially viable if the Government opts to go ahead with the proposed cap for supported services.
Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, said: “I am delighted that these new homes will be built in Taunton and I am thrilled to be part of this start on site event. Schemes like this are really important for Taunton Deane, providing a range of housing options to meet local and specialist needs. I know that the local councils have worked with Knightstone for many years providing appropriate housing that encourages people to make Taunton their home.”
Paul Barber, South West Regional Director for Rydon Construction, said: “We’ve delivered a range of specialist housing projects and I’m pleased to bring Rydon’s expertise to Taunton, providing flexible, safe and secure accommodation encouraging social inclusion.”
The development is due for completion in summer 2018.
Photograph; (L-R) Richard Witcombe, Rydon Project Manager – Barrie Dale, Vice Chair of Knightstone Board – Rebecca Pow, MP – Cllr John Williams, Taunton Deane Borough Council