Manor Links in Bishop’s Stortford is being delivered in partnership by Stonebond and Sage, and the first of 24 new affordable homes have now been handed over to local people.
Fourteen properties are available for affordable rent to local people on East Herts Council’s housing needs register; the other 10 are available for purchase on a part-buy part-rent basis for people who cannot otherwise afford a home on the open market.
Becky Lowton and her son Mason were among the first local residents to collect the keys to their new affordable rent, two-bedroom bungalow with disabled access, and they moved in on 12 November.
After breaking her back and damaging her spine from a fall in 2018, Miss Lowton had spent several years sleeping downstairs on a sofa bed while she and East Hertfordshire Council tried to find her an affordable, wheelchair-accessible house in her home town of Bishop’s Stortford.
The 39-year-old former pre-school manager said: “It’s just perfect for us and I feel overwhelmed how lovely it is. I’m very houseproud and it will be very well looked after.
“Having one-floor living and an accessible wet room will just make the biggest difference – including to my mental health – and this is going to give me a new lease of independence.”
Councillor Peter Boylan, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods at East Herts District Council, said: “I very much enjoyed meeting with residents today, and hearing first-hand the difference their new homes have made to their lives. It is vital that we deliver a range of affordable housing, which is why it is great to see a mix of homes for rent and for low-cost home ownership, family-sized properties and housing suitable for older people delivered as part of this new development. It is also why our recently launched Housing Strategy makes a firm commitment to increasing the supply of all types of affordable housing across the district.”
Created in 2017, Sage Homes is the largest provider of new affordable homes in England, and to date it has delivered more than 9,800 affordable rent and shared ownership homes.
Lucian Smithers, Chief Customer Officer at Sage Homes, said: “It is great to see that our close working relationship with Stonebond and East Herts Council is delivering the new affordable homes that local people need. I’m really pleased that this new home works so well for Becky and Mason and I hope they feel very happy there.”
The wider development of 37 homes delivered by housebuilder, Stonebond, also provides over £1m in Section 106 contributions towards local education provision, healthcare improvements, community and sports facilities and sustainable transport upgrades, including key cycle routes.
Robert Wilkinson, Managing Director of Stonebond Chelmsford, said:
“As a partnerships developer, nothing makes us happier than seeing residents move into quality, new affordable homes. We’ve delivered a high-quality, mixed-tenure development, and by working with Sage local people will have a real chance to get onto the housing ladder.”