A new £4 million housing development in the heart of Bury St Edmunds, which will provide homes to the town’s neediest residents, was officially opened on Monday.
James School Place, on the site of a former car park in Risbygate Street, was developed by Havebury Housing Partnership with financial support from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency.
The build, undertaken by Cocksedge Building Contractors, comprises 29 one and two bedroom homes which provide affordable accommodation for up to 72 people.
Karen Mayhew, chief executive of Havebury Housing, said the project was an early step in the partnership’s plan to create 360 new affordable houses in the area, 75 per cent of which ‘should be for smaller families’.
“This site has been very important to us. Bury St Edmunds is a special market town so we are pleased this scheme can be right in the heart of the community,” she said.
“We know to invest more in affordable homes like this in the future.”
Ms Mayhew said Havebury Housing has established a consortium, which will work in partnership with local district and borough councils to develop more housing schemes.
“We need to build lots of smaller energy efficient homes. We have decided 75 per cent of homes built in the future should be built for smaller families.”
Cllr Robert Everitt, Mayor of St Edmundsbury, said: “Once you are involved in living in the town, you won’t want to leave it.
“We have an interesting journey ahead and we will make sure we as a board do what is best for West Suffolk.”
New resident Lynda Brown, disabled since the age of 7, moved to her ground floor flat in James School Place from her former home on Moreton Hall, which was managed by Metropolitan Housing Association.
Having previously been ‘depressed and isolated’ and sustained several injuries trying to get up the stairs to her maisonette, Lynda said she was very pleased with her new home.
“Where I used to be, I was depressed, unhappy, and house-bound because I had difficulty with the stairs,” she said.
“I just needed to be in town and so it was wonderful to be offered this place. I have all the facilities I need, I’m close to the buses, and my family are in Bury so I am closer to them.”
Judy Walker, Lynda’s close friend, said: “She has totally changed since moving here. Before she was stranded, but now she has everything she needs on her doorstep, she sees more people, and she is so much happier.”