Landmark moment for Marshfield community-led housing development as work starts on site

Community / New homes / News

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Work has started on site at a ground-breaking community-led housing development in Marshfield that will deliver 15 sustainable and affordable homes for local people.

The newly-named ‘Wheatfield Barns’ development is led by Marshfield Community Land Trust (MCLT). The Trust has leased the land to Brighter Places housing association to build and manage the affordable homes and Somerset-based building contractor Winsley White Building Contractors & Developers Ltd will build the new homes.

Wheatfield Barns will provide the first homes in South Gloucestershire developed under the Council’s Core Strategy, Rural Exception Site policy. By allowing small developments that prioritise homes for local people in housing need, the policy aims to tackle the challenge of local people being priced out of rural communities. The development was made possible by local landowner Mike Ball transferring the land to MCLT who together proposed the name Wheatfield Barns.

As well as addressing the housing challenge for local people, the new affordable homes aim to provide solutions to rising energy costs and the climate emergency. The homes will have air source heat pumps and be built to certified Passivhaus standards ensuring low energy bills for future residents.

South Gloucestershire Council have provided more than £750,000 in funding for the scheme from the Developer Contribution Fund and from their Climate Emergency Fund. Homes England supported MCLT through their Community-Led Housing Fund to progress scheme feasibility and the planning application and are contributing £1,320,000 from the Affordable Homes Programme.

As part of Brighter Places commitment to work with contractors that bring benefits to the communities in which they work, Winsley White Building Contractors & Developers Ltd will host several curriculum enriching activities with Marshfield CE VC Primary School. Pupils will have the opportunity to take part in a ‘how to build houses’ workshop, a house design competition plus a safety talk and tour of the development. Brighter Places and Winsley White Ltd will also sponsor Marshfield’s annual family-friendly festival, Marshfest in September.

Christine Eden, Chair of Marshfield Community Land Trust, said: “MCLT is so delighted to see work start on site for our affordable housing development. The dream suddenly has started to become a reality. We would not have reached this point without significant support from Brighter Places, from South Gloucestershire Council and Homes England who have made major financial contributions and also locally from Marshfield Parish Council, our members and Marshfield community. We have also had invaluable support from Steve Watson of Middlemarch at every stage. We know there is a real need in Marshfield for affordable homes for local people and we have worked closely with Brighter Places to ensure these homes will be at social rent and energy efficient. We look forward to seeing people living in these homes in 2025.”

Anna Klimczak, CEO of Brighter Places, said: “We’re thrilled to have achieved this milestone at Marshfield. Brighter Places is dedicated to working with local communities and partners to build much needed, energy efficient, affordable homes which is why it is so exciting to see construction begin on site.

“We go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of all our residents by providing quality homes, great service, and thriving communities. So, we are proud to partner with Winsley White Building Contractors & Developers Ltd to make a difference to this rural community by supporting and engaging with the people of Marshfield.”

South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Homes, Councillor John O’Neill said: “It’s great to see work is underway on this community-led project to deliver affordable and energy-efficient homes for local people in Marshfield. We are aware of the need for this type of housing which is sympathetic to the rural landscape and is built to exceptionally high environmental standards. We are pleased to be working with our partners to provide high-quality, new homes for residents, and it supports our commitment to tackle the climate and nature emergencies we face.”

Winsley-White’s Company Director, Sam Winsley said: “Our company was formed to construct a rural exception scheme in 1989. Since then, we have helped to deliver many more exception schemes that provide essential housing to rural communities. Wheatfield Barns is the latest such scheme which we very much look forward to constructing in the coming months. We hope to become part of the community whilst on site and anticipate all the ‘interesting’ questions we will get from the Marshfield Primary school pupils when they visit.”

Colin Barns, Senior Manager, Affordable Housing, Homes England said: “As the Government’s housing and regeneration agency, increasing the supply of quality affordable homes remains one of our key objectives and we are committed to supporting ambitious housebuilders of all sizes to build those homes and communities.

“This investment through the Community Housing Fund and the Affordable Homes Programme does just that, enabling Brighter Places to work with Marshfield Community Land Trust in order to build 15 much needed new homes the people of South Gloucestershire can be proud of.”

Photo caption: L-R: Sally Gilbert, Homes Director, Brighter Places, Simon Turner, Marshfield Community Land Trust, Sam Winsley, Director, Winsley White Building Contractors & Developers Ltd, Christine Eden, Chair of Marshfield Community Land Trust (centre), Colin Barnes Senior Manager, Affordable Housing, Homes England, Mike Ball, landowner, Councillor John O’Neill, South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Homes, Councillor Chris Willmore, South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Infrastructure and Marilyn Palmer, Councillor for Boyd Valley Ward.