Disused grassland transformed into affordable housing for rent

Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT) has worked collaboratively with a local church and community to transform a disused and unsightly area of grassland into a new housing development.

KHT, part of the First Ark Group, has developed 14 new properties available at affordable rent on St George’s Road, Huyton on waste land adjacent to St George’s Church. The £1.5m development, which was built in conjunction with MCI Developments and an HCA grant, comprises 10 one-bedroom apartments and 4 mews style family homes all built to an energy efficient specification with eco tech boilers, triple glazing and secure off road parking. They also enjoy ‘secured by design’ status, meaning the Merseyside Police have deemed the development a safe place to live.

As well as being highly energy efficient, these are the first one bed apartments that KHT have built in the area that are self-contained with no communal area, saving tenants money on service charges and providing a higher degree of privacy.

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KHT say the development, close to local shops and other amenities, is in response to high demand in the area for smaller properties. New builds in the area have tended to be larger homes for sale, so this provides badly needed accommodation for smaller families, couples and young professionals who are not yet in a position to buy.

The land for the development was acquired from the Diocese and the proceeds will be used to carry out a programme of refurbishment of the church. Parishioners and local residents were extremely patient while the build took place and the church clerk and his wife even tracked the build, took photographs and regularly updated parishioners on progress, making the story into a book which is kept inside the church. Church members are said to be pleased to see this former empty land used to build attractive homes.

Bob Taylor, CEO of the First Ark Group, said: “KHT’s aim is to provide local communities with quality, affordable homes with support services that help keep money in resident’s pockets. We feel the development at St George’s Road not only benefits smaller families and young professionals who are looking for property to rent near to local amenities, but it also has a positive impact on the local community.

“St George’s Church has been extremely supportive throughout the build process and we’re delighted that the funds from the acquirement of the land will go back into making the community a better place to live and work.”