New council homes in Hemel Hempstead unveiled

Business Ambassador Dacorum Borough Council have officially opened 14 new council homes at Able House, in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town.

Mayor David Collins joined council staff and the first tenants to officially open the new homes on Figtree Hill. The block of 14 new flats consists of four two-bedroom and 10 one-bedroom homes for people on the housing register. The new homes have been let at social rent.

The site was formerly a three-storey office block which had fallen into disuse. The new modern properties have been built in a fantastic location just around the corner from Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town High Street and the town centre, both of which have recently undergone major transformations as part of the £30 million Hemel Evolution regeneration project.

The properties are Secured by Design and have also been designed with long reglit glass panels to create a feeling of light and space within the properties.

The new tenants are due to move in over the next few weeks. One of the new tenants, Mark Adams, said, “The council have really excelled themselves with this development – it’s fantastic! I’m giving up a three-bedroom house in Chaulden so that I can downsize to somewhere with cheaper rent and bills.

“The £1,000 downsizing payment will help me buy some bits and pieces for my new home. My mum and dad moved to Hemel from Peckham in 1968 and they had a council house, too. I think the council should build more of these flats so that people in their 50s and 60s can downsize and free up the family-sized homes.”

The new homes at Able House are the latest in Dacorum Borough Council’s development programme of 300 new affordable homes to be built between 2012 and 2020. They are also the first new council homes to be completed this year.

Dacorum Borough Council were shortlisted for a UK Housing Award for Outstanding New Developer in 2016, and will be continuing their development programme with a further 176 new homes planned in Hemel Hempstead at Wood House in Maylands Avenue, Martindale in Warners End and Stationers’ Place in Apsley. Construction has also just started on nine new homes in Swing Gate Lane, Berkhamsted.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Andrew Williams, said, “This is another stunning development by Dacorum Borough Council. We are one of the very few local authorities who are building new homes at a social rent level – making properties affordable for those who cannot afford to buy a home of their own.

“I would like to thank our Housing team and developer Taylor French for their fantastic work. Rarely have we had a development as popular as this, partly due to its location, resulting in Dacorum Council receiving over 200 bids for each property. I hope that each of the new tenants has an enjoyable experience living at Able House.”

Brian Ball, Construction Director at Taylor French, said, “We are really proud to have worked in partnership with Dacorum Borough Council to create these much needed new council homes for affordable rent. We hope that this is a new chapter in council house building and we look forward to working on more such projects with Dacorum in the future. There is a housing crisis, and by collaborative working we can work hard to create new places that people will aspire to live in.”

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