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I support the planning application (ref 4254/20/FUL) from South Dartmoor Community Energy. I believe this eco-affordable housing development is much needed for Ivybridge and Ugborough and will have a positive impact on the local community.
There is a clear need for more affordable and social housing in the local area: Despite several large new developments in the area there are not enough homes which local people can genuinely afford. There is also hidden housing need which SDCE have uncovered in their surveys.
It’s exciting to see how the whole project has been designed to reduce carbon emissions and to generate its own clean solar energy, the microgrid is a clever solution to balance the electricity within the site and reduce the impact on the local electricity network. This also means that the tenants have access to clean low-cost electricity, making these homes affordable to run as well as rent.
I can see that this scheme has been designed to be sensitive to the location and the wildlife on the site and laid out with plenty of green spaces, meadow roofs and areas to protect the wildlife on the site such as dormice, slow worms and bats.
A lot of attention has been paid to the drainage strategy and it is good to see how the landscaping is working together with the banks and swales, I think this site will be a lovely place to live and will have a really positive impact on the wellbeing of the residents.
I am happy to see that SDCE has been very open and honest about this proposal from the outset and has undertaken extensive community consultation which shows the community strongly in favour of the project. It is great that it will be run as a not-for-profit and that local people will be able to invest in it. I like the additional benefits that the project will bring to the wider community, such as the electric car club, the new community hall and even the new jobs for local people. There are so many new homes being built on the Eastern side of Ivybridge, the community hub will provide a useful extra space for clubs and groups to meet.
I am pleased to see that SDCE are taking measures to minimize the impact of additional vehicles on the roads in the town, providing shared electric bikes to reduce short car journeys. And the shared electric cars will mean that households can avoid having a second car which will save them money as well.
But what is really brilliant about this project is the holistic approach to providing affordable housing. This proposal ticks both boxes of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions and answers the question ‘how should we build zero carbon new homes in a climate emergency?’ SDCE are very brave for taking on this challenge and demonstrating how we can Build Back Better, they have my support.
We were delighted to be awarded a grant from the South Hams District Council Community Led Development Initiative to enable us to continue to progress our eco affordable housing project.
The fund was established to support community organisations develop affordable housing for local people. We have been working with our local affordable housing officer to ensure our housing project meets local needs.
Project manager, Sophie Phillips said: "It's so encouraging to have this funding from SHDC, as a non-profit organisation there's no way we could do this project without grant funding. The SHDC grant is essential for us to top up our funding from Homes England. The cost of the surveys and design work is very high, and the process is complex which makes it very hard for community organisations like us to engage in the housing sector. It is so important that the local authority can support small projects like ours which deliver amazing local benefits back into the community."
You can read more about our housing project here.