Beech Green, Neenton, Shropshire

Seven homes built on land adjacent to a local pub, with the profits from the development used for the acquisition and refurbishment of the pub.

Beech Green. NeentonHousing Association
Shropshire Housing Group

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Neenton BenCom; Shropshire Council; Homes & Communities Agency, Neenton Parish Council

Scheme outline
The Pheasant public house in Neenton, a village in Shropshire, had been empty for five years. It was in a poor state of repair, requiring extensive refurbishment, and was the only community building left in the village, with the exception of the church.

SHG were approached in 2011 about a potential project, based on the community’s desire to acquire and own the pub. The community group, Neenton BenCom, were also looking for a developer to construct both open market and affordable homes on land to the rear of the pub enabling the acquisition and refurbishment of The Pheasant.

The planning application for the five homes to be sold on the open market, and two shared ownership properties was granted in May 2013 and an appropriate Section 106 Agreement was completed in December 2013. In January 2014 Shropshire Council approved an application for ‘Exceptional Circumstances Relief’ from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which meant that all profits could be used in the refurbishment.

The model is thought to be unique in the UK and the Neenton site was one of the first schemes SHG were building under the new approach of community led housing, which involves members of the local community. Numerous public meetings were held in Neenton, and it was agreed that seven homes would be built on land adjacent to the pub, including some to house those with a local connection to the village, with the profits from the development being used for the acquisition and refurbishment of the pub.

Good practice
Refurbishment of the pub and build of the homes began in February 2014. Work on the restoration of The Pheasant Inn, including a new Community Room at the rear of the pub was completed, and the pub opened in November 2014 and now employs 4 full time and 11 part time staff. The Landlady and Landlord live in one of the shared ownership properties in Beech Close.

The pub is very popular with local people, and the Oak Room, at the rear of the pub has been used for many community events.

The homes, at the newly formed Beech Green were completed in September 2015, and comprised of five luxury homes for sale on the open market and two three bed homes available on a shared ownership basis.

The open market homes were sold under SHG’s brand, Floreat Homes and the shared ownership homes are managed by SHG.

All of the properties at Beech Green have been fitted with air source heat pumps. They can deliver Co2 reductions between 30% and 50% by taking free renewable energy from the outside air and using it to generate heating and hot water in the home.

Two shared ownership properties:
Shropshire Council – £20,000
Homes & Communities Agency –£38,400.
Shropshire Housing Group – £229,459

The Pheasant group received £256,000 from the sales proceeds to purchase and refurbish the Pub.

“In late 2010 with the pub falling into decay following a burst water tank which had rendered it uninhabitable, it became clear this last hope for sustaining some community life was eventually going to be lost unless we did something.

“A survey of residents in 2007 showed a strong desire to see the pub re-open and a strong feeling that additional housing would help secure a future for the village, especially homes for local people. This was the spark that set us on our way.”

“The vision, commitment and willingness to explore innovative ideas to help our community regenerate that Shropshire Housing Group have shown has been quite remarkable and sustained throughout.” John Pickup, Chair of Neenton Parish Council

“Getting to the point where we have been able to begin construction has been hard but very worthwhile work which began back in 2011. It has had to be a team effort between the community and ourselves to come up with a truly innovative way to cover the costs of restoring The Pheasant for everyone’s benefit.

“At the same time we will have created homes which complement the existing properties in the village and homes that allow young families to stay in their Shropshire rural communities. With shared ownership options, we can even help them to get a foot on the rungs of the housing ladder.

“As far as we know, this is the only scheme of its kind in the UK so far.” Paul Sutton, SHG’s Executive Director for Assets and Development.