First grant of its kind after changes to the Affordable Homes Programme

Homes England has awarded a £5m grant from the Affordable Homes Programme to Somerset Council to support the North Taunton Woolaway Project.

The grant allocation is the first of its kind following Homes England’s decision in June 2023 that grant funding from the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 could be used to fund replacement homes, alongside new affordable homes, as part of wider estate regeneration plans.

North Taunton was identified for regeneration as it is an area with some of the county’s highest rates of social deprivation and contains some of the most energy-inefficient homes in Somerset.

The North Taunton Woolaway Project is a site comprising of non-traditional homes that were built using prefabricated reinforced concrete panels instead of traditional brick.

This type of construction is time-limited due to structural issues, therefore, demolishing these existing homes and replacing them is more beneficial. All new homes will be built to low carbon standards and will achieve EPC B or above.

In total, 162 energy-inefficient Woolaway homes will be demolished and replaced with 229 council homes for affordable rent. Homes England will be funding 66 of these new build replacement homes, with the remaining homes funded by Somerset Council.

Jackie Jacob, a director of Affordable Housing Grants said: “This funding is the first grant allocation following the introduction of our new flexibilities to support our partners plans for estate regeneration. The Agency’s new Strategic Plan objectives will support Somerset Council in its ambitions to regenerate North Taunton, an area with some of the highest social deprivation levels in the county.

“The North Taunton Woolaway Project is a signal of the funding open to affordable housing providers to accelerate the regeneration of social housing and help level up communities across the country.

“We encourage all providers and local authorities to come and talk to us as early as possible if they need support to develop their proposals – we’re here to help.”

The regeneration project will be rolled out across four phases, two of which will be part-funded by the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver 100 homes, including a variety of bungalows, flats and houses. The agency’s goal is that that this funding will enable the council to accelerate the delivery of phases three and four.

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