Work has begun on a £1.4m co-operative housing scheme to rebuild a community in North Wales.
The Afallon development, in Abbey Street at the heart of Rhyl’s west end, overlooks the Gerddi Heulwen green space, which opened last year.
The driving force behind the scheme is West Rhyl Housing Co-operative, Wales’s first urban rental housing co-op, which was formed by North Wales Housing and West Rhyl Community Land Trust.
Fiona Davies, chair of the community land trust, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for local families to benefit from brand-new, high-quality, affordable housing. The aim of the co-operative is to rebuild the close-knit community that once thrived in West Rhyl.”
Tenants become members of the housing co-op, allowing them them to become involved in managing their properties and giving them a voice on future plans and projects in the area.
Rhyl-based construction company Anwyl will build seven new three-bedroom family homes with private gardens and parking, and refurbish former commercial premises, with a community shop and a bakery on the ground floor and four flats above.
Barry Mellor, mayor of Rhyl, welcomed the development. “It’s what we’ve needed for a long, long time and it will boost this area considerably. For the community land trust to do this is unbelievable and to have Anwyl, a local company, building it is superb – what we need now is for other companies to get on board to help out.”
Denbighshire County Council granted planning permission for the project – the co-operative’s first – in December 2014. Plans were unveiled in February. The development is being funded by the Welsh Government and North Wales Housing.
Paul Diggory, chief executive of North Wales Housing, said: “Afallon is an attractive community housing project providing real family homes built to a high specification and standard of energy efficiency. It aims to create a vibrant community where families and businesses wish to settle and grow.”
Denbighshire County Councillor for West Rhyl, Joan Butterfield, a member of the trust, said: “It’s a really wonderful opportunity for the people here to start building a true community from day one. It’s a real social enterprise project involving the people who live here and providing them with opportunities and skills and I believe it will lift the whole of Rhyl.”
Nikki Jones, director of the community land trust, added: “We are keen to hear from local families wishing to become part of the co-operative and apply to live in the new family houses.
“If people who currently live or work in Rhyl or surrounding areas are interested there is still time to apply to become tenants.”