Affordable housing scheme officially opens

The District Council has welcomed the delivery of a housing development at Chapel Lane, Birdwood, which was officially opened on Friday 12 January.

Comprising of seven new affordable homes, the scheme is a mixture of bungalows, flats and family homes and is the result of partnership working between the District Council, Two Rivers Housing, Churcham Parish Council and the local community.

The development has been named Henry Hook Close (VC) in honour of the village war hero, Henry Hook, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross for bravery following the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in the late 1800s. 

The dwellings have been built on a rural exception site, which means they are only available to people with a strong connection to the local area.

Five of the properties are rented and the other two are shared ownership homes.

The first occupants moved in to their new homes in the close just before Christmas.

Cllr Richard Leppington, Forest of Dean Cabinet Member for Development, Asset Management, Infrastructure and Housing said: “This is a great example of partners working together to provide affordable housing for residents. 

“By providing homes for those that are unable to buy or rent a property on the open market we are encouraging a mix of people of all ages to live in our local communities.”

Garry King, Chief Executive of Two Rivers Housing added: “These are the first new homes to have been built in Churcham for more than 50 years and we are proud to have been involved.  We enjoyed great support from the parish council, and Keith Chaplin from the Forest of Dean District Council, in delivering them.

“It is important for us to work with local people to help keep rural communities alive, and to offer attractive, energy-efficient homes that people can afford to live in, and stay close to places where they have established connections. This is a hugely successful scheme that helps to address the shortage of affordable properties and meet a community need.”

Cllr John Francis, Chairman of Churcham Parish Council said: "The granting of this development site brings a welcome influx of families into the village. As with a lot of rural communities we have an ageing demographic. We need targeted developments to enable our community to be sustainable and develop. My thanks go to all our partners in this development. Especially to my colleagues within the parish council who have worked tirelessly over the years to make this development a reality.”

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