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20 April

Military veterans will help build homes in Plymouth

The scheme will provide former services personnel with some invaluable skills as part of the house building project
Stirling House

Military veterans will have the opportunity to help build their own home as part of a new affordable housing development in Plymouth.

The Stirling Project will include 25 self-contained affordable homes to rent – up to 12 of which will be self-built by former service personnel in need of housing.

We have acquired the land from Plymouth City Council and teamed up with charity Alabaré Christian Care & Support, who will identify the veterans to work on the scheme, the majority of whom will have previously been homeless.

Taking inspiration from the award-winning Nelson Project in Plymouth - a development born from a vision to deliver a flagship housing scheme to help veterans learn construction skills in addition to having somewhere to live - the new development will start in May and take around 18 months to complete.

During the course of the build, the veterans will earn valuable experience in construction that will help them develop the skills needed to engage with the project and gain valuable job-based skills.

The Alabaré team will support each veteran to overcome the personal challenges that had led them to struggle in their civilian lives, and to gain the skills to successfully maintain their new homes and tenancies.

Totnes-based, Coyde Construction, has been contracted to build the scheme which has been designed by architects Form Design.

Anthony Eke, our New Business Manager, said: “It is an important regeneration project located in a prominent location and, as such, good design has been a very important consideration from the outset.  

“While the scheme is to be delivered as socially rented affordable housing, we have been working with Alabaré Self Build for Veterans in allocating up to 12 properties within the scheme to let to military veterans.

“They will have the opportunity to participate in the actual build of the scheme, overseen by the contractor, to gain experience and potentially work their way towards a qualification.

“It is great to be able to deliver more affordable homes in the city.”

Stirling House was a former residential care home, owned by the Council which stood empty for several years. It was demolished in October 2018.

The project will also use the land created by the demolition of the nearby disused Honicknowle health clinic, which was formerly owned by the NHS and acquired by the Council for the project.

Of the 25 homes, 19 will be one and two-bedroom flats together with two, three and four-bedroom housing. 

Once complete, all of the homes will be let by us at a subsidised social rent, in order to provide support for households in high need. 

The large four-bedroom house has also been designed as a wheelchair adapted property, helping to address the significant shortage of such properties across the city.  

The project will benefit from grant-funding from government housing agency Homes England.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet member for Housing Cooperative Development, said: “I am so excited that we've reached yet another significant milestone in this incredible project.

“This scheme, like the Nelson Project before it, will literally change lives and I'm so proud that this Council has backed it since the beginning by contributing £600,000 to get to the stage we're at today. 

“I cannot wait to see work begin.”

Maj (Rtd) Ken Hames MBE, Chief Operating Officer of Alabaré Self Build for Veterans, said: ‘We are delighted to be joining forces again with Plymouth City Council and LiveWest to deliver this exciting housing development in Honicknowle.

“We have completed eight Veteran’s self-builds to date and rehoused over 160 veterans and their dependents, where the majority are now in full time employment and in many cases, reconnected with their families.

“Schemes like this offer exciting opportunities to veterans and communities alike, where regeneration and better housing provision are witnessed first-hand. 

“Up to 12 Veterans will benefit from 18 months of ‘on and off’ site training, in both practical and life skills, to prepare them for full time employment and independent living.

“Our veterans are really looking forward to making a full contribution to the overall plan for the build and meeting the local community to tell them all about it.”

Alabaré still has a few vacancies for individuals and families. Contact Karl Arrowsmith from Alabaré on 07789 955224.

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