Sites could provide affordable homes in Winterbourne

January 29 2019
Sites could provide affordable homes in Winterbourne

NEW affordable homes could be built on five sites in Winterbourne.

South Gloucestershire Council is looking to transfer small pieces of land it owns to a housing association, as it tries to meet a target of providing 10,000 affordable homes over the next eight years.

Many of the sites are open spaces next to homes owned by Merlin Housing Society. Building on them – a process known as infilling – would help meet South Gloucestershire’s target of providing 10,000 affordable homes over the next eight years. But not all will be suitable for building on – the council believes the 54 spaces it has earmarked will provide a total of 34 new homes between them.

Two of the Winterbourne sites are in Harcombe Road, while the others are in Perry Close, between Perry Close and Dragon Road (above) and at Masons View.

A council report on the 54 sites says seven of them are seen to have potential for development on the open market but their total area is relatively small, at 3,394 sq m or about eight tenths of an acre.

The biggest group are sites which have limited value on their own but are next to land already owned by Merlin and could be combined with it to build homes. The 26 sites cover a total area of around 12,750 sq m – just over three acres.

Another 21 sites are costing the council money to maintain and the report said they would benefit from being taken over by Merlin. Their total area is 6,177sq m – around one and a half acres.

The council report says: “Not all sites will be capable of development.

Some sites, even once merged with Merlin’s adjoining land, will not be viable for Merlin to develop, but could provide for self-build plots for disposal on the open market, with the capital receipt then reinvested.”

It recognised that Merlin “would be taking a degree of risk” if it took on the sites, as it would still need to gain planning permission for any building schemes.

The council’s target is to build 28,000 homes by 2027, of which just over 10,000 should be classed as affordable – either available to rent below market rates or through shared ownership schemes.

Cabinet councillor Rob Creer, who approved the transfer, said: “We’ve been working with Merlin to tidy up issues over land ownership and maintenance for a number of small sites, resulting in this positive outcome that will generate an estimated 34 residential units.”

These will be a mix of single build plots, self-build and affordable housing. The transfer will help us keep our own costs down and will protect us from future maintenance expenses as the housing association will be taking on the sites at their own risk.”