Welsh Government thumbs up for £5m eco-friendly homes in Llandudno

A Welsh Government Minister has set the seal of approval on a £5 million showcase development of eco-friendly sheltered homes in Llandudno.

Housing association Cartrefi Conwy is replacing two of its two ageing sheltered housing schemes in the town’s St Andrews’s Avenue – Llys Seiriol and the adjoining Llys Eryl.

They are being replaced by 26 new state-of-the-art apartments and four family homes which will also  be fitted with solar panels.

The ground-breaking development, which sets new standards in energy efficiency, has been planned with the emphasis firmly on how its residents want it look and be used and also aims to be a social hub for the wider community.

During a recent official visit to the region, Wales’s Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant AM, was given a guided tour of the site where the development, to be named Cysgod y Gogarth, is rapidly taking shape ready for its opening next Spring.

Cartrefi Conwy Cysgod y Gogarth (the redeveloped site of Llys Seiriol) in Llandudno. Minister for Housing and regeneration  Carl Sargeant AM with Andrew Bowers Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Officer

Mr Sargeant also presented an award to the scheme’s builders, Llysfaen-based RL Davies Construction Ltd, to mark its accreditation under the new BEFAIR scheme by the Construction Industry Training Board.

R.L. Davies are the first company in Wales to achieve the award which recognises companies committed to fairness, inclusion and respect within the workplace.

The Minister said: “This new build is really important, not just for the new homes it is creating but also for the economy of the area.

“The new scheme has provided an opportunity for regeneration which will not only enhance the lives of its residents and the local community but also the skill-set of individuals, including apprentices, who are working on the site.

“Being able to see the development has been a highlight of my trip to North Wales.”

The new development, designed by award-winning architects, will feature a total of 30 new homes, including a diverse mix of 26 apartments, of one and two bedrooms, plus four houses, two with two bedrooms and two with three bedrooms.

Fronting on to St Andrew’s Avenue and designed to give the outward appearance of a row of traditional terraced houses, the development will have ground, first and second floor levels, with the upper floors being served by a lift – something which the former blocks did not have.

The scheme will be set within landscaped gardens and have parking areas reserved for tenants and their guests.

Each home is designed to be fully accessible for disabled tenants, with a modern bathroom and fitted kitchen.

A key feature of the development is that it has been designed around a “community hub” area where residents can go to mingle with friends and enjoy a range of leisure facilities.  This area will also be available as a venue for local groups to host a range of events and activities.

Andrew Bowden, Chief Executive of Cartrefi Conwy, who greeted the Minister on site, described the development as a “showcase” for how a sheltered housing scheme of the future should be provided.

He said: “Our ambition for Cysgod y Gogarth has been to provide new, affordable and accessible accommodation for older people from the Conwy area and particularly Llandudno.

“Our intention has been to create homes where people can feel secure and which is also a hub for the whole community.

“It won’t just be a place for its residents to use but also groups from the wider community.

“It’s going to be a showcase to demonstrate that sheltered accommodation really has a future.

“We want it to have the wow factor and be somewhere special to live for a generation that deserves the best.”

Tenants of the old scheme were moved into temporary accommodation late last year and will be given the option of returning to the new development when it is ready. A significant number have opted for the new development.

According to Eiry Davies, Housing Projects Manager for Cartrefi Conwy, residents have been consulted about the new development.

She said: “It’s been very much an inclusive process with the tenants. We’ve held regular consultation events since we started work on the plan early last year.

“A steering group of local tenants and residents for Cysgod y Gogarth has been formed and its members will be taking decisions on its interior design, branding in terms of what its logo should be and general communications regarding the new development. They will also have a major say on what activities and events are held in the community hub, which will be available for the whole community to use.

“As part of the consultation process residents even chose the name of the development – which is Shadow of the Orme in English.

“We have about a dozen of the original residents coming back and we’re accepting applications for the remaining units, so we’re delighted that we will be welcoming both old and new residents to the development.”

Cysgod y Gogarth has set new standards for energy efficiency, as Wayne Bannister, Property Services Delivery Manager for Cartrefi Conwy, explained.

“We’ve incorporated a high level of insulation and fitting solar panels to the roof. These will generate a certain amount of free electricity as well as producing an income for Cartrefi Conwy.

“The development will have a combined heat and power system, which will not only provide heat to each flat but also the communal area. This is also capable of generating electricity.

“The whole thing has really set the energy efficiency benchmark for this kind of development.”

Cartrefi Conwy formulated the rebuilding plan after deciding that Llys Seiriol and Llys Eryl, which were both around 50 years old, did not meet Welsh Government housing standard.

Prys Jones, the quantity surveyor in charge of the project for RL Davies Construction Ltd, said work on Cysgod y Gogarth, which had a 52-week building period,  was right on schedule and was going precisely according to plan.

He said: “The whole project has been going very well and we’ve encountered no problems on site. That means we’re bang on schedule.”

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