Proposed Affordable Housing Development near Golden Hill, Wiveliscombe

Welcome to the hub for the Wiveliscombe community consultation.

 

Somerset Co-operative Community Land Trust have recently purchased land in Wiveliscombe. The land near Golden Hill was formerly the location of Exmoor Ales. SCCLT has ambitions to see the area transformed and developed for the benefit of the community. 

The following sets out their plans which include: a development of affordable rental homes, electric vehicle charging and a community enterprise hub. 

The plans are sympathetic to the area and have been designed with sustainability in mind. The Trust would like to hear the views of the local community. 

You can share your views by: 

  • Complete the questionnaire.
  • View plans and leave comments at The Hub, Silver Street Centre, TA4 2PA, 10am to 5pm daily (20-26th January). 
  • Meet the team and discuss proposals at the Silver Street Centre, TA4 2PA, on 26th January: 2-5pm and 6-7.30pm. 
  • Join Q&A meeting via Zoom, Thursday 27th January 1.30pm. 

The land has been in a derelict state since 2017 and is approximately 0.2 ha. It consists of a couple of buildings which were in business/light industrial use. SCCLT propose that the site is used for a sustainable and affordable housing scheme with additional business space.

Wiveliscombe town, see 'star' for location of development

Current buildings – What is the site currently like?

These remaining buildings have been assessed for their suitability to be converted or restored. However due to their construction and condition, this is not viable.

The buildings are remnants of the former light industrial use as a brewery.

SCCLT took on the land with the aim of providing affordable housing alongside a business unit that would serve as a community enterprise hub. 

The planning authority considered the site as employment use but has indicated that mixed residential and business use may be acceptable.

Remaining buildings at the site.


Meeting housing need

SCCLT support those in housing need, for example someone who is at risk of homelessness, in overcrowded or unsuitable accommodation. They are working with Somerset West and Taunton council on an allocations and letting policy. Subject to consultation with the local councils, SCCLT will seek to establish a local letting plan that prioritises existing Wiveliscombe residents and those with a strong connection to it. To enhance its mission of providing affordable housing for those in need, SCCLT are also in the process of applying to be a registered provider, (the official term for a housing association).

Homefinders Somerset who manage the local housing register, say there are 33 households in need of a one bed property and 14 households in need of a two bed property (as of January 2022). All of whom have indicated Wiveliscombe as a preference.


Affordable housing

The proposed housing will be affordable as the rents will be set to no more than 80% of the market value.


Plans

Option A.

Proposal:

  • The development proposal includes: 30 residential units (100% affordable rental housing) to lifetime homes standard, including:
    •  9 x 1bedroom 1 person flats (48-51sqm) 
    • 18 x 1 bedroom 2 person flats (51sqm) 
    • 3 x 2 bedroom 3 person flats (70sqm) 
  •  Business hub/workspace of approx. 85 m2 
  • 14 car parking spaces with shared car scheme (with EV charging)

The scheme has been designed with a community focused approach. The homes meet Lifetime Homes criteria, which means they will be spacious and adaptable to any changes in it's occupants lives. The ground floor homes will be suitable for disabled occupants. Each home will have a private external space for recreation, in addition to other communal outdoor spaces.

 

Proposed East Elevation and Section

Proposed West Elevation and Section


Proposed Ground Floor Plan


The sustainable and affordable housing proposed on this site is split into two sections. The south block  has a scale to fit with the approved planning application for the adjacent site to the South. The second and smaller north block copies the scale of the town houses to the north in Coopers Heights.

A traditional palette of heritage colour renders is proposed including, slate roof and wall cladding alongside local stone. The homes will be well insulated and energy efficient, keeping occupants warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

The steep surrounding slopes will be planted and managed to improve habitat and biodiversity for native species and local wildlife, as well as looking visually appealing.

Option B.

Following feedback SCCLT’s architects have drawn up an alternative design for the affordable homes, Option B.

This design has a traditional look that closely matches the heritage landscape. As with Option A each flat meets Lifetime Homes criteria, meaning they will be spacious and adaptable to changes in the occupant’s life. The ground floor homes will be suitable for disabled occupants.

The design changes mean Option B has:

  • 1 less flat
  • 5 more carparking places
  • no public access steps through the site
Proposed Ground Floor Plan
Proposed East Elevations

Option B has 29 residential units (100% affordable rental housing) to lifetime homes standard, including:
o     8 x 1bedroom 1 person flats (48-51sqm) 
o    18 x 1 bedroom 2 person flats (51sqm) 
o    3 x 2 bedroom 3 person flats (70sqm) 
 Business hub/workspace of approx. 85m2,
•    19 car parking spaces with shared car scheme (with EV charging) 

Community enterprise hub

In addition to the affordable housing, a small business unit will

  • Provide opportunities and support for the social economy and start-ups.
  • Benefit local residents and the wider community.
  • The CLT helps to provide work, training and support for start-up enterprises with community and/or social benefit.
  • Serve as a community enterprise hub, offering work and training opportunities to the tenants and wider community.


Topography

The site has an upper flat level with a steeply sloping embankment towards the east. A ground condition survey areas of “made ground” across the site. This means more substantial reinforcement will be required. 

At present the steepness of the land does not lend itself for safe pedestrian access. The proposal includes step access through the middle of the site, providing a permissive footpath for all pedestrians.

In its current condition the land would not be stable enough for continued use, due to the subsistence in the area. SCCLT’s proposals will stabilise the plot, the design includes piling and anchored retaining walls. 


Car share scheme

As well as proposing a new housing scheme, SCCLT are looking to develop an Electric Vehicle (EV) car share scheme for the residents. Subject to consultation, it could extend to the whole community. The scheme will see lease vehicles powered by electricity and available to hire for as long as required.

It is expected that it would run in a similar way to other schemes, for example:

  • Available 24/7 and only pay for the hours you drive.
  • A membership fee would be applicable to join the scheme. Membership also provides the opportunity to have a say in the future of the venture, which would be run co-operatively.
  • Charging points would be made available within the town, cars would be accessible via individual key cards.


Timescales

Following on from the current consultation, feasibility reports and feedback from the council planners, SCCLT will review and revise accordingly. 

SCCLT plan to apply for full planning permission by spring 2022. 


 
The Community Housing Fund Revenue Programme 2021/22 is funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). 
 
The Community Housing Fund Revenue Programme 2021/22 will increase the supply of affordable housing in England by supporting the community led housing sector to progress schemes to the build phase.