New afforable homes for Wells set to go on show

FlASHBACK: Building work on the Homes for Wells project began in March. Chairman Anne Phillips (fron

FlASHBACK: Building work on the Homes for Wells project began in March. Chairman Anne Phillips (front) with Pentaco contracts manager Geoff Lane, pictured with the digger ready to go. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A primary school dinner lady, a young woman who works to support youngsters with learning difficulties and a crab dresser will be among the first tenants for a new social housing scheme.

Volunteers formed Homes for Wells in 2006 to help provide affordable housing for local people.

It was launched after a survey which showed that more than 20pc of houses in the town had become second homes or holiday lets, in turn pushing house prices and rents well beyond the reach many local people.

While the average wage in the town is £20,000, the average home costs more than 10 times that.

On Saturday, Homes for Wells will be unveiling its first completed scheme, called the Old School, which will provide the coastal town with 10 badly-needed one, two and three-bed homes.

Each property will have its own front door, gas central heating, parking spaces and either access to a communal garden or their own private outside area.

Care Minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb will be among more than 60 guests attending a preview at the Polka Road site, near the town centre, on Saturday.

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They will look around three of the completed homes in the building, previously known as The Field Study Centre.

Mr Lamb said: 'Homes for Wells has made immense progress since its inception in 2006, and it is testament to the commitment and hard work of their dedicated band of local volunteers that they have successfully completed a project of this scale.

'The new housing will be a real asset to the town, and I have been delighted to support Homes for Wells along the way. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished homes.'

The Grade II listed Victorian building was Wells's first school and was built on land given by Holkham Estates.

After obtaining more than £500,000 in grants from the Homes and Communities Agency and North Norfolk Council's Big Society Enabling Fund, work began last March.

Pentaco Construction won the contract to build the project, while homes were designed by Norwich-based architects A Squared Ltd.

Tenants have now been allocated for all the homes and full occupancy in the completed building is on track for early February.