A housing association in North Wales has unveiled a £4.3 million plan to transform a 1970s estate following consultation with residents.
Cartrefi Conwy is proposing to demolish a block of 30 maisonettes and flats at the Glanrafon housing estate in Llanrwst and replace it with 14 zero carbon modular homes – creating jobs and work experience for unemployed tenants in the process.
As part of the overall scheme, six nearby blocks of 30 flats are being given a massive makeover to give them a new modern look.
Work to improve the flats began earlier this year and the organisation has now submitted a planning application to Conwy County Borough Council to demolish the block of maisonettes and flats and build much needed three- and four-bedroom family homes.
“When the Glanrafon estate was designed in the late 1960s, they provided what was then state-of-the-art accommodation to meet the housing needs of the local community at that time,” said Andrew Bowden, Cartrefi Conwy’s chief executive.
“However, they were no longer fit-for-purpose which is why we are investing more than £4 million to reconfigure and improve the estate so that it meets the needs and expectations of our tenants today and into the future.
“The six blocks of apartments will be unrecognisable as they are being transformed into attractive, high quality, well-insulated homes.
“Meanwhile, if we are successful in gaining planning permission, we will be investing £2.5 million in building the 14 modular properties.”
If permission is granted, Cartrfi Conwy says the timber frames will be manufactured at its subsidiary, Creating Enterprise’s factory in Holyhead before the modular properties are erected on site.
The social enterprise, the first of its kind in Wales, also runs an Employment Academy to provide opportunities, training and qualifications for unemployed local people, including Cartrefi Conwy tenants.
The organisation has partnered with Norfolk-based Beattie Passive, a manufacturer of advanced passivhaus homes and low-energy buildings.
The factory employs four carpenters and will provide jobs for four more local people who are currently unemployed, as well as providing work experience for 50 others who are struggling to find jobs.
“The modular system is very quick and efficient. We can put the frame of a house up in two days – it’s the future of building,” Bowden added. “The timber frame can be clad in any material you like and then internally there is plasterboard and an airtight membrane which seals the house so there is little or no heat loss.
“The properties are very advanced in terms of building control standards, exceeding sound-proofing requirements and it has in-built barriers to radon gas, an invisible, odourless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground.
“It’s up to passive standard which means they are going to be among the most energy efficient homes you can build in the UK.”