Landmark Bristol Housing Project on World Stage for Affordable Housing innovation

Landmark Bristol Housing Project on World Stage for Affordable Housing innovation

Posted 15/07/19

The partners behind Bristol’s Elderberry Walk housing project are pleased to announce the project’s inclusion in a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) - 10 ways cities are tackling the global affordable housing crisis. The list places the Bristol development and the work by its backers United Communities, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC), Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund and Bristol City Council, on the world stage when it comes to finding new solutions that address housing affordability.

The innovative mixed tenure approach employed in the Elderberry Walk development in Bristol’s Southmead features as an example of how mixed tenure models attract funding partnerships that allow larger schemes to include a good proportion of affordable homes that meet a variety of housing needs.

The Elderberry Walk project, designed by HAB Housing, is set to transform the former Dunmail Primary School site into much needed housing in North Bristol. Construction work is well-advanced to build 161 houses and apartments with six housing tenures available. The development includes ethically rented homes, key worker rented properties and a unique rent-to-buy offering delivered by The Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund and BBRC. United Communities will deliver 77 homes that include affordable rented homes, and shared ownership homes and the Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund will also offer 23 homes for sale. HAB Housing worked with Stirling Prize winners AHMM architects to produce designs for beautiful, sustainable housing with a strong sense of community.

The WEF recognised the project as a turning point for UK housing. Not only is it the first time that a housing association, a community investment company and a private investor have come together to create an inclusive housing scheme, but it also marks the introduction of the UK’s first private sector rent-to-buy model.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This innovative development symbolises what cities need to do to tackle the growing housing crisis – building quality, sustainable homes of mixed tenure that people can afford to live in. As a council we have ambitious housing targets, but these can only be reached by working with a wide range of partners. It is fantastic to see that all the hard work we are doing has been recognised on the global stage.

“We endeavour to punch above our weight. Being a community housing association allows us the flexibility to do things that other larger organisations wouldn’t. We are committed to providing solutions to our city’s housing crisis and this mixed tenure development is an example of how we can approach things differently.” Oona Goldsworthy, United Communities CEO.

Andy Willis, Chair of United Communities Board, says “This just shows what small organisations with focus, experienced leadership and passion can achieve!”

Darren Carter, Investment Director of the Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund, says: “We’re extremely proud that our work has been recognised by The World Economic Forum and hope that it serves as a blueprint for future efforts to address global housing issues. This project is indicative of our commitment to creating safe, attractive and affordable homes that will continue to serve the communities in which they are found – now and into the future, as we fulfil our role as long term custodians of the assets.”

Ed Rowberry, Chief Executive of BBRC, says: “Innovation in housing is enabled by good partnering and ensuring that the financing and delivery model serves the community.  It’s great that the World Economic Forum recognises this model as being one of good practice, a compelling reason to replicate it.”

The list of 10 ways that cities are addressing the housing challenge was composed as part of the WEF report, Making affordable housing a reality in cities, which identifies factors that affect housing affordability beyond the direct costs of purchase and maintenance – including location, housing type, access to social infrastructure, the legal and regulatory environment and the state of financial markets.

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