Christmas tree gifts mark handover of new affordable homes at Cromer

Victory development officer Faith Davies (left) and housing officer Charlotte McKnespiey (right) pre

Victory development officer Faith Davies (left) and housing officer Charlotte McKnespiey (right) present Christmas trees and decorations to some of the new residents moving into Weavers Tye at Cromer. From left: Alex Sinclair, Karen Lawrence, and Denise and Ian Lawrence - Credit: Archant

A new batch of affordable homes at Cromer been handed over - complete with festive tree and decorations.

The six homes are the first phase of 16 affordable homes at Weaver's Tye just off the Norwich road.

To mark the occasion, Victory Housing Trust presented each new tenant with a Christmas tree and decorations, to make their new homes, built by Hopkins homes, suitably festive.

Two of the new flats have been occupied by members of the same family. Ian and Denise Lawrence have been living in an unheated converted shop in West Street in the town for most of this year.

Mr Lawrence, originally from Wigan in Lancashire, is a wheelchair user and needs a ground floor home which he has struggled to find in Cromer.

'Our last place was very cold, and I couldn't even get to the bathroom in my chair. When Victory contacted us and said that this flat was available, it was the best Christmas present we could have hoped for. To be in a warm flat where I can actually move about in my chair is fantastic.'

Moving into the flat opposite is their daughter Karen (21), who was previously living in a hostel in the town. She said, 'This is my first proper home, and to be living in such a modern flat is wonderful. It was very cramped in the hostel – now I can start planning for the future.'

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The handover comes as housing campaign charity Shelter highlighted its concern over the lack of affordable housing across the UK. And locally, north Norfolk district councillors have aired worries that new developments such as the HL Foods site at North Walsham, were being given planning permission without any affordable elements because developers said it was unviable.

Victory development officer Faith Davies, who along with housing officer Charlotte McKnespiey welcomed the new residents to their homes, commented: 'These six new homes bring the total we have built in 2013 to 130, the most we have ever completed in a year.

'The stories told by the residents moving in demonstrate just how much new affordable homes are needed in the north of Norfolk, and we are looking forward to delivering many more new homes over the coming years.'

Victory's development manager Mark Burghall added: 'We would agree with Shelter that we need to be building more affordable homes in the UK.

'Here in the north of Norfolk there is demand for more affordable homes than we can currently offer. This is why we have recently announced an acceleration in our new home building programme, with a promise of 1,000 new affordable homes to be built in the next ten years.

'If Shelter's figures about a decrease in the number of new affordable homes are correct for the UK as a whole, this is not the case in this part of the country.'

Victory had built nearly 200 new affordable homes in the past two years, with another 115 due in the pipeline.