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Stonewater’s 6000th new home marked by community event

An event at a new development of homes in Ewyas Harold, Herefordshire has marked Stonewater’s 6000th new home.
Students from Ewyas Harold Primary School join Jonathan Layzell, George Blunden and Nicholas Harris from Stonewater, to open the Blunden Meadows development

Customers and community members joined partners involved in the delivery of the homes at Blunden Meadows to celebrate both the completion of the scheme and Stonewater’s 6000th home to be provided since the leading social housing provider was formed in 2015.

The completion of the development, which has provided 38 new homes with a mixture of houses, bungalows and maisonettes, brings Stonewater’s contribution to affordable housing in Herefordshire to over 2700 homes.

The event bought together representatives from construction firm Speller Metcalfe, based just over the county border in Worcestershire, local authority Herefordshire Council and Homes England, who have partially funded the almost £8mn new development.

Special guest at the celebratory event was former Chair of Stonewater’s Board George Blunden, whose father the site is named after, and who planted a commemorative tree to mark the 6000th home. During his tenure, George was responsible for establishing the Longleigh Foundation to address the gap between the needs of Stonewater customers and support available to them.

He also championed public art on development sites resulting in the launch of Stonewater’s Blunden Prize, now in its second year, being named after him, and was also asked to unveil the public art installation at Blunden Meadows and a plaque commemorating the housing provider’s milestone.

Stonewater has advocated and commissioned public art on its development schemes for over a decade, often relating the design to the local area and history. The Ewyas Harold site is no exception, with a steel train and benches representing the Golden Valley Railway, which used to run in the area, created by local architect firm, Studio Bad.

Alongside the public artwork, the village site has been landscaped with green areas and trees and includes a children’s play area. Children from Ewyas Harold Primary School have also been busy making bird boxes and bug hotels for the site.

As well as encouraging wildlife to the site, sustainability and the environment has been at the forefront of construction plans, with the new homes featuring the Kensa
“shoebox” ground source heat pump system, used successfully on earlier Stonewater sites, and the Switchee system, which helps to save residents money by reducing energy wastage, as well as photovoltaic solar panels.

Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive of Stonewater, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to have been able to mark the fantastic milestone of providing 6000 much-needed affordable homes across the country. We’re also honoured to be naming this scheme after the Blunden family, in dedication of their committed public service.

“Developments like this make an important contribution to meeting the housing needs of the local community, at a time when affordable housing couldn’t be more important.

“The Blunden Meadows site is a fantastic showcase for the amazing work that has been done not only here but on previous Stonewater development sites, working with partners to provide new homes alongside public art, sustainable features and community initiatives.”

Mark Eaton, Director at Speller Metcalfe said: “We’re delighted to have finished this new housing scheme. Not only does the project mark a significant milestone for Stonewater, but it also means the residents of Hereford and Abergavenny have affordable and sustainable housing available to them on their doorstep.”

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