Local residents receive keys to affordable new homes

A group of local residents are set to enjoy spring in new affordable homes thanks to a partnership between housing association Aster Group and Chagford Community Land Trust (CLT). The collection of new homes for local people in Chagford are now complete with the last sets of keys being handed over to the new residents.

Chagford CLT was formed in 2013 with the immediate focus of providing affordable housing for local people. In partnership with Aster, Bellacouch Meadows - a development of 28 properties - has provided a mix of one-bedroom flats and two and three-bedroom houses. Six of these properties were available through the Shared Ownership scheme, with the remaining 22 available for affordable rent.

Leanne Young, who collected her keys recently, said: “I’m really looking forward to living somewhere affordable that’s close to my parents and the friends I grew up with. Previously as a private renting tenant, I moved seven times in seven years so it’s going to be nice to have the long-term security of an affordable home. In Chagford it’s almost impossible to find properties that come with parking and a garden, and I will have both. As a keen gardener I’m looking forward to the spring when I’ll be able to get out in my lovely garden.”

Chagford CLT was set up to safeguard the social, economic and environmental interests of the local community. With the development now complete and the final keys handed over, Crispin D'Apice, Chairman of the CLT said: “This is a major milestone and we are very proud to be involved in this amazing project which is helping to safeguard our local community’s housing needs.”

Bellacouch Meadows is the first National Park development Aster has delivered, forming part of a wider ‘masterplan’ for the village. The affordable properties form part of a larger development of 93 homes, constructed by CG Fry, which also includes a new public car park, fire station and business units.

Amanda Williams, Group development director at Aster, said: “Affordable rural housing for rural communities is hard to find. By working with Chagford CLT and the local community we have delivered much-needed affordable new homes for local people.

“CLTs have the community at their heart. Created by local people, for local people, they shape and deliver homes specific to the needs of their community. We’re proud to have worked alongside Chagford CLT on this innovative community-led project.”

The Chagford CLT and Aster partnership project also included working alongside Chagford Parish Council, West Devon Borough Council and Dartmoor National Park.

The challenge to make sure more local people could afford to live near to family and friends was carefully managed from the very start of the project. West Devon Borough Council worked closely with Chagford CLT and the local community, to ensure that local people knew about the properties and how to apply for them when they were advertised. 

Cllr Nicky Heyworth, West Devon District Council Ward Member for Chagford, said: “What’s really important is that local people have a new chance to remain near their families and within their community. From the early planning stages, we worked with the developer and Dartmoor National Park Authority to get this right. We have also continued to assist Aster in terms of verifying local connection and I’m pleased to say that every single person meets the local connection criteria. I’m delighted that this community-led project has delivered exactly what it promised – affordable homes for local people.”

Dan Janota, Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Head of Forward Planning and Economy, said: “Dartmoor National Park Authority is delighted to see the last of these affordable homes being handed over to the community. The development has had strong community involvement and support, and a clear range of benefits to Chagford delivered through a truly high-quality scheme. We are proud to have played such a key role in achieving a development which is good for Dartmoor and meets the housing, employment and community needs of Chagford.”

For further information on CLTs and Aster Group visit www.aster.co.uk.

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