New Homes and Regeneration Manager, Stroud District Council
“We believe social housing should be built to the highest standards, offering a great place to live while delivering excellent energy efficiency.”
Kim looks after Stroud District Council’s New Homes and Regeneration programme. Kim and her team are creating top quality social housing across brownfield sites in the district.
The programme is one that is underpinned by careful thought and consideration for each site and each home.
“The majority of our work is on challenging and awkward brownfield sites. Developing these sites requires many more processes and considerations than developing high numbers of homes on a greenfield site.”
The team’s aims are clear. The housing must be of excellent quality and energy efficient, all the 36 homes created as part of the current programme have an EPC A rating. In the initial planning phase this ambitious energy efficiency aim was driven by the council’s climate commitment, to be carbon neutral by 2030. In more recent times it has become clear that these homes will have an added benefit in keeping fuel bills down for residents in the costs of living crisis.
The importance of this has been picked up on by Kim’s team:
“We know that fuel costs are a major concern, and we want to work in partnership with our tenants to collect data on fuel costs in the various new housing stock so we can use this to feed into our future plans, ensuring that we are creating the most energy efficient homes we are able to. We work on a fabric-first approach and, as a result, deliver well above building regulation standards.”
The entire programme is being carefully thought about at every stage. Solar panels, air source heat pumps and underfloor heating are being widely used. The brownfield sites range from former garages to former sheltered housing sites (now known as independent living). These tricky sites take time and care to develop but result in quality housing in great locations and an improvement in the local landscape.
“We are so proud of the quality of our homes and are always looking for opportunities to stretch ourselves. Everything down to the tiles in the bathrooms has been carefully thought about. You walk in and it feels like home.”
The recent economic shifts have had a huge effect on building costs, but Kim and her team have been working hard to quantify the impact on the programme and set about finding funding sources, so the quality of the work is not compromised. Future plans include expanding on the existing shared ownership programme and exploring the use of different rental models. For now, work is about to begin on four more sites and the team are poised to create more homes that people feel proud to live in.