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New development to bring ‘key worker’ accommodation

Stratford-upon-Avon is to lead the way with a Midland first – bringing targeted key worker accommodation to the town to bridge the gap between salaries and high private rents.

On 16 June the scheme was given a resolution to grant planning permission by Stratford-upon-Avon District Council. The scheme is currently being revised to incorporate suggestions made by the planning committee. Work on the new development will then start later in the summer and be completed within 18 months.

In a partnership between Orbit Homes and ABD Developments LLP, supported by Stratford Town Trust, 82 high quality one and two bedroom flats will be built and let to key workers to provide high quality private rent at a reasonable price.

The development will see the existing building at Warwick House, on the corner of Birmingham Road and Clopton Road, demolished to make way for a brand new building.

This will house 82 apartments for private rent, to be let on assured short-hold tenancies and designed to be suitable for key workers.

The apartments will comprise 64 one bed flats and 18 two bed flats, all fully self-contained. They will be initially marketed to key workers employed in public services - including teachers, health service and emergency service workers.

The development involves three parties; Stratford Town Trust, which owns Warwick House and will retain the freehold, Orbit Homes, which will be granted a long leasehold to manage the accommodation, and ABD Developments LLP, the developer and initiator of the scheme. The architects are the well-established local firm Robothams.

Orbit Homes and ABD Developments are currently revising the scheme to incorporate suggestions that were made by the planning committee, this includes an additional ‘green wall’ on the Birmingham Road elevation.

The development will be the first of its kind in the Midlands.

Similar key worker accommodation has been successful in London, bridging the gap between salaries and the cost of local private rent.

Chris Jones, Development Director at Orbit Homes, explained: “With the rising number of young people now unable to enter the homeownership market due to rising costs and difficulty in obtaining mortgages, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has now overtaken the Social Rented Sector as the second largest tenure type in the UK with 3.9 million people. This has left a ‘squeezed middle’ of people unable to purchase and yet earning too much to be considered for social housing.

“Currently many local employers express concern that their staff travel some distance to work due to the high cost of accommodation locally. This makes it difficult to attract and retain employees as well as adding to the congestion caused by commuters travelling into Stratford each day. What this development will provide is high-quality accommodation at a reasonable cost.”

Helen Munro, Chief Executive of Stratford Town Trust, said: ”This is a really ground-breaking concept and one we are so pleased to support. It is absolutely right that those working hard in our hospitals and schools can afford to live in Stratford. We are confident this plan, spearheaded by ABD Developments, will have a positive impact throughout the town.”

Tarquin Murray-Holgate of Colliers International, who advised Stratford Town Trust, said: “The new development will remove the existing unattractive 1970s redundant office building and provide a modern well designed landmark scheme to meet key worker housing demand.  This is a pioneering scheme for Stratford.”

Stratford-upon-Avon is to lead the way with a Midland first – bringing targeted key worker accommodation to the town to bridge the gap between salaries and high private rents.