A TOPPING out ceremony has been held to mark a major milestone of an innovative, affordable housing development that is being built in south Powys.

Powys County Council is currently building 13 new homes adjacent to the Castle Estate in Clyro and last week marked the completion of the external construction with the traditional topping out ceremony.

The £2.6 million development is being funded by the council and the Welsh Government, who have provided £1.72m through their Innovative Housing Programme.

This project, which has been developed by the council’s affordable housing team, is part of the council’s transformation programme to deliver aspirations in ‘Vision 2025’. One of the aspirations is to build 250 new homes by 2025.

The development, which is being constructed by Bridgend-based Jehu Group, consists of two four-bedroomed houses, four two-bedroomed houses, one two-bedroomed bungalow, two one-bedroomed bungalows and four one-bedroomed flats.

Councillor Iain McIntosh, cabinet member for housing, planning and economic regeneration, said: “I’m delighted that this innovative development in Clyro has reached an important milestone with the completion of the external works.

“The council has an ambitious target of building 250 new homes by 2025 as part of our Vision 2025. We are already making excellent progress to meet this target with several housing projects currently under construction including this development in Clyro.”

There are various innovations within the scheme that will be measured by a building evaluation tool and post-occupancy evaluation, which will provide both the council and Welsh Government with important information and learning.

There are two different heating systems and build methodologies that are being used as part of the development, which will be measured by monitoring equipment.

As part of this development, integrated flexible spaces have been included that would allow tenants to live in their homes for life and address the needed spaces introduced by the coronavirus pandemic for home-schooling and working from home. As part of the build, the council is also creating opportunity for future adaptations if required.

“The properties promote space and light which is key to people’s wellbeing,” said Cllr McIntosh.

“The modern open plan designs are fairly new to social housing and will be tested by a series of reviews with tenants to establish any benefits or difficulties with the design.

“As the council has not built homes in a generation, there is a vast amount of learning from all the schemes we’re currently developing. This particular scheme will have a focus on vigorous monitoring and learning for ourselves and the Welsh Government.”