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LiveWest outline plans to invest in rural homes over coming years

A leading housing association has pledged to build around 766 homes in rural areas across the South West over the next three years.

LiveWest has outlined its plans to invest in rural economies as the housing sector celebrates Rural Housing Week, a national campaign designed to shine a spotlight on the vital importance of housing associations for rural communities.

Over the past two years, LiveWest has demonstrated its commitment by building 496 rural homes across the region.

The largest affordable housing provider in the region has invested over £36m during the last financial year having built 193 homes in rural areas.

The total is made up of 29 homes in Cornwall, 23 in Devon and 141 in Somerset.

In the next three years, LiveWest is planning to develop 156 homes in Devon, 241 in Cornwall, 292 in Somerset and 77 in the West of England.

It means nearly 30 per cent of LiveWest’s development programme is made up of homes in rural areas.

Gareth Jones, Development Director for LiveWest, said: “Building rural homes changes lives and helps to strengthen communities.

“Rural Housing Week is an opportunity to talk about how rural housing developments offer essential homes to local people and underlines how vital new homes are in supporting thriving rural communities and services.

“Housing prices everywhere, including in rural areas, continue to rise which is why our commitment to affordable housing is so important to offer people the chance of a new home and to sustain vibrant rural communities.

“Our development plans mean we will be working in a broad range of rural communities across the South West to deliver homes that people can afford to live in.

“Alongside our ambitious plans to build around 766 rural houses in the next three years, we are also focusing on their energy performance to ensure that all our new houses offer energy efficient comfortable homes for our customers.”

In Devon, a partnership between LiveWest and local independent house builder, Devonshire Homes, has resulted in the completion of 94 homes in Kingsbridge.

Having previously owned his own home, shared ownership gave Mark Lamble the perfect platform to start a new chapter in his life at this idyllic location in the South Hams – an area where average house prices are typically around 15 times average salaries.

Mark said: “I am a local born and bred Kingsbridge person so it’s great to not have to move location. I really enjoy the area.

“The views here are absolutely stunning. I have got a really lovely plot here. It’s really nice, comfortable, new, modern and easy to maintain.

“I really enjoy my home. I got back on the housing ladder under the shared ownership scheme which was great.

“From a shared ownership point of view, I can’t recommend it enough. I have bought a new home and I don’t have to worry.

“LiveWest has been very good and anything I have done with the Aftercare team has been superb.”

In Cornwall, an area of chronic housing need, 10 affordable homes have been completed in the village of Kilkhampton.

All of the homes are for affordable rent and form part of a wider development of 34 homes thanks to a partnership with Bunny Homes.

The homes all achieved an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of B thanks to the installation of air source heat pumps.

In Somerset, LiveWest partnered with Freemantle and Tallagh to build 25 energy-efficient new build homes in Congresbury which benefited from grant funding from LiveWest’s strategic partnership with Homes England. The development was made up of 19 shared ownership homes and six social-rented homes.

The energy-efficient homes benefit from solar panels, high-quality insulation, and solar PV to ensure they are sustainable, lowers the development’s carbon footprint and helps reduce residents’ energy bills.

First-time buyer, Jack Benjamin, along with his partner, were among the fortunate new owners to move into one of the new homes.

Mr Benjamin, 27, said: “We are really happy here and it feels like home.

“My home is trendy, modern and it has solar panels, which will help reduce my energy bills.

“This is my first home through shared ownership, and I definitely recommend LiveWest as they have really supported me through this process.

“Being a first-time buyer, you’re not always sure about the buying process but LiveWest were really knowledgeable and supportive.”

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