News: BME housing provider Arches presses ahead with innovative affordable eco-homes

BME housing provider Arches Housing was given the green light by Sheffield City Council to begin work on 19 high-quality affordable new eco-homes.

The houses, originally planned for local authority ownership, were awarded planning permission at the end of August 2010 and would have been among the first council houses to go up in Sheffield for over 20 years.

But recent cutbacks meant the council had to search for an alternative developer with the capital to invest in the project. Arches Housing, which was able to provide the funds and match the government’s £1.6 million grant, will now develop the scheme, due for completion in January 2012.

Manchester-based architects and planners Stephenson Bell will provide the plans for two five-bed, seven four-bed, four three-bed and six two-bed homes to be built on cleared land on Ellesmere Road, Sheffield.

The buildings have been designed to meet the criteria as set by the Code for Sustainable Homes’ Level 5 and will provide highly efficient, healthy and affordable homes for tenants to rent. Building work is scheduled to begin before the end of March 2011

Arches chief executive, Brian Summerson, said: “We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to work with Sheffield City Council on this prestigious scheme.  We’re also grateful for the funding support from our partners, the Homes and Communities Agency, which ensures we can deliver these high-quality homes.

“The project will be the first in Sheffield to provide sustainable housing to Code Level 5 for all the units in the scheme. This will greatly reduce running costs for the residents living in these homes and significantly contribute to the reduction in energy requirements and carbon emissions.

Lara Oyedele, chair of BMENational, an umbrella organisation for over 65 BME housing associations, said: “I am so proud of Arches. There is overwhelming demand for large family homes and this scheme, while not solving the problem, will help alleviate the situation of some families still waiting for suitable accommodation.

“For the development to be at Level 5 is just the icing on the cake. This is a fantastic example of what forward-thinking BME housing associations can achieve despite the current difficult climate.”

This article was reproduced courtesy of 24Dash.com

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