Wales’ first urban community housing co-operative officially opened on 13 January, providing homes for 11 local families and individuals.
Afallon Housing Development is located opposite the Gerddi Heulwen Park and is the West Rhyl Housing Co-operative’s first development. The housing co-op was set up by West Rhyl Community Land Trust (WRCLT), North Wales Housing (NWH) and Wales Co-operative Centre.
Tom Jones, resident and chair of Afallon Residents Committee said: “This is an amazing opportunity to move to a brand-new property and to have a say in how it’s managed.
“West Rhyl has always been a brilliant place to live and now we can look forward to building a brand new community right in the heart of it.”
Fiona Davies, chair of WRCLT, added: “Afallon Housing Development is a vitally important scheme to West Rhyl.
“It is a culmination of six years of hard work from volunteers and members of the community to create the West Rhyl Land Trust, develop partnership with North Wales Housing and subsequently the new housing co-operative.”
“Community aspirations were for better quality housing in the area and that is exactly what’s been achieved.”
The development includes seven new build family houses and four fully refurbished apartments. The first seven families moved into the houses at the end of October 2016, and the remaining four families have moved into their new apartments this month.
Nikki Jones, director of WRCLT, said: “This is a proud moment for those of us who have strived to make this development happen. Our community board has been dedicated to producing a positive outcome for West Rhyl, and their commitment has now paid off.”
Helena Kirk, chief executive at North Wales Housing, said the development was unique.
“North Wales Housing are proud to be involved in the project,” she added. “The development has exceeded expectations and the houses are great example of what houses would have looked like in the area.
“The co-operative model has worked well and we are pleased there is already a sense of community on the street – the co-operative is no doubt to thank for that.”
Dave Palmer, co-operative housing project manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said housing co-operatives are more collaborative and democratic, and they encourage and support local community control in their immediate neighbourhoods.
“The Welsh Co-operative Housing programme has shown us that co-operative housing is flexible to meet many needs and any tenure,” he added. “At the Wales Co-operative Centre we are working to ensure co-operative housing provides a significant proportion of the 20,000 new affordable homes to be built during this Welsh government term.”
The Welch government’s cabinet secretary for communities and children, Carl Sargeant, said Afallon was “an excellent example of how the Welsh government is delivering on its commitment to provide high quality, affordable housing and I am pleased tenants are already enjoying their new homes”.
He added: “This project is a key element of the West Rhyl housing improvement programme, a Welsh government-led investment of almost £17m in improving housing and providing green space in the area which will be vital in contributing to the regeneration of the town.”