Ten brand new affordable and energy efficient family homes in Mansfield have welcomed their first council tenants.
Work has been completed on the six two-bedroom and four three-bedroom homes and they are now fully allocated via Mansfield District Council's housing site Homefinder.
Among the new tenants is Jonathan Gilkinson, who was thrilled to move into their two-bedroom semi with his partner, Rose Morley, and their two-year-old daughter, Iris.
He said: "I would just like to express my sincerest gratitude to Mansfield District Council for offering us one of these stunning houses and continuing to create affordable housing in the community.
"We could not believe it! Since the properties were first announced on Homefinder we registered our interest in them and as soon as construction began on them we pretty much kept a close eye on the properties as they were being built, driving past the street on occasions and dreaming of being allocated one.
"Now it's happened we feel so lucky. It is everything we ever dreamed of in a home.
Jonathan, 33, moved to Nottinghamshire from Northern Ireland in 2008 to be with Rose, 28, from Mansfield, who he met online a year earlier.
The couple started living together in a first-floor council flat and their daughter was born in 2018. Since then they have been looking for a house with a garden.
Jonathan said: "The property is everything we dreamed of: driveway, two toilets, large kitchen diner, and stunning patio doors, leading to the best feature, in my opinion, a very generously sized secure garden. This is something we so desperately wanted for our daughter, Iris, who loves the outdoors, so she can play freely and securely.
"It doesn't feel quite like home yet but we'll get there soon. It gives us a tremendous feeling of security and it is a huge relief to have our forever home."
The £1.7m scheme off Rosemary Avenue, used innovative pre-built modular homes for the first time by the council and are part of a long-term programme to build 300 affordable social housing homes in the area.
The homes were manufactured in a factory by Ilke Homes and delivered in large sections and pieced together on the site where the foundations, drainage and other services had already been put in place.
They were then roofed and clad on site, before external finishings were added to each property, including fenced boundaries, landscaped gardens, parking and footpaths.
The building work was carried out by Midlands construction company G F Tomlinson which used local supply chain partners and Covid-secure working practices on site.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “It is marvellous news that these much-needed homes are now being lived in by local families.
"Moving into well-made modern and affordable homes like this will undoubtedly be life-changing for these tenants who will be among those with the most urgent needs on the council waiting list.
"We are now looking forward to moving forward with other new council housing schemes in the district to meet high energy efficiency and sustainability standards.
"These include PassivHaus homes at Saundby Avenue which have received planning permission and commences on site on 12 July. There are also proposals for 22 homes as part of a regeneration of the Bellamy estate and 77 homes at the Centenary Road development with both schemes currently being considered for planning approval."
Subject to planning approval, it is hoped that building work could start early next year on the 77 homes at Centenary Road. The scheme would provide 48 homes for older people, including 16 bungalows which are in short supply, plus 29 general needs houses and apartments. The mix of affordable housing is designed to suit the needs of the local community and all the properties will be owned and managed by the council.
The layout of the development aims to prevent car rat-runs and create a pleasant low-traffic environment.
Work is due to start imminently on a pilot project of four ultra-low energy council homes for affordable rent on the site of the former tenants’ meeting room on Saundby Avenue.
They are being built to a Passivhaus design which reduces their ecological footprint and results in them needing little energy for heating or cooling.
The project is one of the first to benefit from the council’s new procurement strategy, which puts a greater emphasis on social, environmental and economic factors.
As part of the contract with local developers Robert Woodhead Ltd, the project will create local training and employment opportunities, support local supply chain companies, involve schoolchildren and community organisations, reduce carbon emissions through the planting of trees and by recycling a high percentage of construction waste.