£35m to build more ‘innovative’ housing in Wales

Announcement comes as part of a £90m fund to test new approaches to help develop social and affordable housing.

Julie James AM

Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James is due to visit Swansea Council’s Colliers Way development in Penlan to announce £35m of funding for “innovative” housing projects in Wales this year.

The funding announcement comes as part of a £90m fund to test new approaches and technologies to help develop social and affordable housing.

The Colliers Way development consists of 18 council homes have been built to Passivhaus standards, meaning that they are ‘extremely’ energy efficient with very low fuel bills.

Swansea Council is building more homes on the site, incorporating battery technology, solar panels and air source heat pumps, thanks to funding from the Innovative Housing Programme.

The Minister will also visit the Active Buildings Centre in Swansea University and see how the research and development centre uses renewable technology and modern insulation techniques to help lower fuel bills and carbon emissions in house design.

So far, projects funded include ‘active homes’ being built in Neath by the Pobl Group, due to welcome their first tenants in July.

Tŷ Solar are delivering many schemes in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, constructed using locally sourced timber and delivered by a local supply chains, with each timber house powered by solar panels.

On the announcement, Julie James said: “This year social housing providers and the private sector can apply for a share of £35m to test new approaches and technologies in housebuilding.

“A report from the Committee on Climate Change last week set out the scale of the challenge ahead if we are to develop homes that contribute to tackling climate change. The Innovative Housing Programme is playing an important part in developing the technology to support this.

“We are looking to push the boundary on both the type and scale of innovation supported in this third year of the programme. This programme provides an important opportunity to deliver affordable, high-quality homes that help to reduce fuel poverty and reduce the impact of housebuilding on the environment.

She added: “The significant investment in the programme means Wales is well positioned to determine how the social and affordable homes of the future can and will be built.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some exciting projects coming forward for funding, so we can create some beautiful innovative housing in Wales.”

Cllr Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy in Swansea Council, said: “The availability of the funding through the Innovative Housing Programme has enabled Swansea Council to develop modern high-quality accommodation for our tenants in the city.

“We believe everyone is entitled to a warm, safe, affordable home.

“We have recently approved further plans to create even more housing in the city with a number of schemes that will be developed as ‘homes as power stations’. This has given us the opportunity to explore ways of using available modern technology that will enable each home to generate its own energy.”

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