A ribbon-cutting ceremony has marked the official opening of the Old Coal Yard, a new mixed development of 14 affordable Stonewater homes for rent and shared ownership in Sparkford, Somerset. The new two , three and four bedroom homes, which have been built on the site of the village’s old coal yard in Sparkford Road, meets an urgent local need for low-cost, high-quality housing in the area.
Developed by affordable housing provider Stonewater in partnership with South Somerset District Council and contractors Titan Group, the Old Coal Yard features a mix of seven two- and three-bedroom homes for affordable rent, six two- and three-bedroom homes for affordable shared ownership and one four-bedroom house for open market sale.
The new Stonewater properties have been traditionally designed in keeping with the local architecture. A particularly unusual design feature of the homes is an opened up roof-space which could be used for extra storage or accommodation. The space, which replaces a traditional loft and will be accessible by a fixed ladder, has a velux roof window to allow more natural light into each home. The energy-efficient properties each have their own private garden and allocated parking.
Richard Stevenson, Stonewater executive director of development, commented: “Having been here to see construction start on these much-needed affordable homes, it’s thrilling to see them completed. Housing developments like the Old Coal Yard play such a vital role in keeping our rural villages alive and thriving.
“We hope the Old Coal Yard will enable local people, particularly young families who are struggling to stay in the area due to the high cost of housing, to live in the village where they play such an important role in supporting local services, shops and amenities.”
The company say the average price of a home in the South West is just over £240,000 which is ten times more than the average salary in the region. This compares with the Old Coal Yard development where the house prices started at £66,000 for 40% share ownership.
Ric Pallister, leader of South Somerset District Council, commented: “The station, steam trains and the coal yard may now be part of history, although who knows, one day a new halt may re-open as the use of the rail line through Sparkford increases. For now, this small development has created affordable homes that are so much in demand in our rural settlements,” says “However, it isn’t just new housing that Stonewater has delivered, it is quality housing finished to a very high standard that also includes imaginative use of the roof spaces by creating a valuable area accessed off the main bedroom. Through this and other recent housing schemes, Stonewater has set a benchmark for affordable housing that I am proud for the District Council to have supported.”