Maes y Waen is a development of six affordable, eco-friendly family houses by Cartrefi Conwy in partnership with Conwy County Borough Council and Rural Housing Enabler (Conwy). Maes Y Waen is set in the picturesque village of Penmachno, which is situated in the Snowdonia National Park (SNP).
The Rural Housing Enabler for Conwy in collaboration with the Community Council carried out a Housing Need Survey in the area in the spring of 2012. 422 households in the community were surveyed, and 32½ % of those surveyed responded. The Survey showed that there was a need for affordable houses in the area. There was a particular demand for 2 -3 bedroomed houses with reasonably sized rooms.
Land at Maes Y Waen in the village which was in the ownership of Registered Social Landlord – Cartrefi Conwy had been allocated for housing in Snowdonia National Park Authority’s recently adopted Local Development Plan. The Local Development Plan stated that any development on any publicly owned land allocated for housing would need to be 100% affordable housing for local needs.
Social Housing Grant to help finance the scheme has been made available by Conwy County Borough Council through the Welsh Government’s Social Housing Grant programme. Cartrefi Conwy has funded the remainder through private finance.
The six affordable rent houses were built (by R L Davies Construction Ltd) as the first part of a potential two phase rural development and development is of great significance to the village, being the first new build development of social housing in 40 years, and will help ensure the community is maintained, safeguard the village school as well as protecting the Welsh language and culture.
The six houses have been built to high energy efficiency standards utilising renewable energy technology to fuel the properties. Timber frame construction was used for the structure utilising local supply merchants. The specification for this scheme resulted in the properties being built to code for sustainable homes level 4.
These six fantastic homes that were completed in March 2014 are providing much needed affordable housing in Penmachno and safeguarding this rural community. A section 106 agreement entered into as part of the planning process ensured that priority for the occupation of the houses has been given to those who have resided in the community council area or an adjoining Community Council area for a period of 5 years.
Among the new tenants at Maes y Waen is Rachel Wainwright, 32, who has three children Ellie, 10, Harry, five and Aimie, who is six months old.
Rachel, who was born and brought up in Penmachno, is thrilled with her new home and says that without it the family would probably have had to move away from the village because the rented accommodation they were living in was up for sale.
She said: "It was really important that we were able to stay in Penmachno. My family are all here and they look after the children when I work.
The development has been shortlisted in the Development of the Year category in the Welsh Housing Awards 2014.