Wilkins Way, Ilmington, Warwickshire

A scheme comprising ten affordable and four market homes for local people.

Wilkins WayHousing Association
Warwickshire Rural Housing Association

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Homes & Communities Agency; Stratford upon Avon District Council; Warwickshire County Council; Warwickshire Rural Community Council; Orbit Housing Association (development agent); Linfoot Homes (developer)

Scheme outline
The Ilmington development was born out from the local housing survey, establishing needs of ten affordable and four market homes for local people. The community were actively involved in the site selection process. Land owned by Warwickshire County Council was ultimately chosen on the basis of ease of Highway access and land availability.

Significant levels of community consultation considered layout and design together with drainage. Already concerned by congested sewerage networks and flooding, the community felt that the scheme would only exacerbate the situation. In collaboration with the developer partner, engineers and the Water Authority Warwickshire Rural HA embarked upon a strategy to address these concerns.

The scheme incorporates rain water harvesting, taking runoff water from the roofs into storage tanks which is then utilised to flush toilets rather than being discharged directly into congested drains. The outcomes led to proposals that went beyond what was required to mitigate the development but to actually improve drainage in this part of the village.

Through construction of a large lagoon the Association have managed to divert and temporarily store significant levels of storm water from a large number of existing properties that would ordinarily swamp the drainage system. The lagoon has created a  healthy wetland habitat complementing the rural setting of the homes.

It was very important to the community that the homes complemented the character of the AONB Cotswold village setting. Members of the parish council attended meetings with the Planners and assisted in the selection of materials. Honey coloured local stone, timber casement windows/ door canopies/ Stone lintels/ Gable windows were all important considerations.to ensure that the scheme was fitting to its Cotswold setting. The significant levels of consultation work undertaken to address local concerns resulted in the development securing staunch support from both the Parish Council and the District councillor who is leader of the Council.

The development comprises six affordable 2 and 3 bedroom homes for affordable rent, two bungalows for affordable rent together with three houses for shared ownership purchase. A further 4 local market homes were built for outright sale.

The allocations for all homes is governed by a S106 agreement, prioritising the homes for the people of Ilmington. This agreement applies to initial and subsequent sales of Local Market homes too. The development has in many cases enabled local people that would ordinarily have had to move out of the village to stay local. A number of the residents have children that attend the village school, which is a vibrant and crucial asset at the heart of the community.

Good practice
The proposed development was well advanced by the end of the 2008- 2011 Affordable homes programme. By the time the planning application was ready to submit, the new 2011-15 programme was in place and HCA grant rates had typically plummeted to £20,000 per home compared to £65,000 under the previous programme.

If an exemplar scheme was to be delivered, the Association had to rethink their funding strategy. They managed to negotiate an innovative funding agreement with the landowners, Warwickshire County Council, whereby the land for the affordable homes was acquired at low cost agricultural values and half the County’s capital receipt from the sale of the 4 Local Market land plots was paid over to the Association. They managed to negotiate a further top up grant from Stratford upon Avon DC of £155,000.

A low build price was negotiated for the development in recognition that there would be some cross subsidy from the sales of the 4 Local Market homes.

The scheme is built code level 3 of the Code for sustainable homes. It includes rain water harvesting and lower energy Dimplex air source heat pumps for heating and hot water. The scheme is built to Jospeh Rowntree Life Time Homes Standards.

Homes & Communities Agency – £163,000
Stratford upon Avon District Council – £155,000
Warwickshire County Council – £90,000
Sales income from shared ownership – £338,500
WRHA borrowing/resources – £568,310

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support this development. We have a large rural population in Warwickshire and we recognise the real need from local people for affordable and decent housing, both for rent and for sale, in our villages. Warwickshire County Council wants to ensure that we have a living, working countryside with inclusive rural communities, which will help young people to remain in the areas where they grew up.” Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader Warwickshire County Council