Work has started on a £10 million affordable housing scheme for older people in one of Cardiff’s most popular suburbs, Llanishen.
The Wales & West Housing development will create a community of 82 apartments aimed at predominantly over 55s. Built in five, three-storey blocks, the apartments will be a mix of one and two bedrooms with communal balconies and social areas, where residents can meet up and make friends. They will be modern, energy efficient and easy-to-maintain.
The development is the first new-build affordable housing scheme for older people that Wales & West Housing has built in the capital. The scheme has been part-funded by the Welsh Government and City of Cardiff Council.
Contractors JG Hale Construction have started building the homes and are due to complete in phases across 2019 and early 2020. Large sections of the homes – including windows, floor, roof cassettes and insulation panels – are being manufactured offsite then delivered to the site. By using this non-traditional method, the houses can be built quicker and more cost effective and avoids the current shortage of bricklayers.
Deputy Chief Executive Shayne Hembrow said:
“These will be the first new homes we have built for older people in Cardiff for many years.
“Feedback from our older residents in our other recently-built schemes for older people was that they appreciated meeting places, where they could “bump” into their neighbours for a chat.
“So we asked some architects to design a scheme of modern, contemporary homes that would create that sense of community. Rather than standing in isolation, each block has been designed to have an entrance that opens out onto a central open-air space. Inside each block will have a comfortable, seating area near the entrance, where residents can meet casually and strike up a conversation. We hope this will encourage people living in different blocks to get to know one another and create more of a community among the people who will live there.
“This development will help to meet the demand of those older people, currently on Cardiff Council’s housing waiting list who want to downsize to smaller properties. It will potentially free up 82 larger social homes for families in need.”
During the 18-month building programme, contractors JG Hale Construction anticipates that three to four new apprentices will benefit by working on the project.
Jonathan Hale, chair of JG Hale Group, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Wales & West Housing again, and are particularly proud of this development as it will allow us to showcase some of the innovative building techniques we have been developing for several years now.”
Wales & West Housing has more than 3,500 properties in Cardiff including 600 retirement homes in Rhiwbina, Whitchurch and Splott. It is one of the largest social housing providers in the city.