Cwrt y Wern, a development of apartments in Llanelli, came runner up at the National Home Improvement Council awards in London this week.
Built by Grŵp Gwalia in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council, Cwrt y Wern was shortlisted for the ‘Best brownfield or recycled building project’ category. The award recognises outstanding developments that use recycled urban buildings or land.
Cwrt y Wern, previously known as Davies Square, was built by Carmarthenshire County Council in the early 1980s, as a block of flats for social housing rent. The building was emptied in 2002, it became vandalised, derelict and an eyesore, attracting anti-social behaviour and creating problems for neighbours in close proximity.
As part of a partnership with Carmarthenshire Council, whereby the council gifts land to Gwalia, the building was refurbished and remodelled to provide more affordable homes in the county.
Stuart Davies, Director of Social and Affordable Housing Development at Gwalia attended the awards ceremony in London “Coming runner up in a UK wide awards ceremony demonstrates how successful the partnership between Carmarthenshire Council and Gwalia and the refurbishment of Cwrt y Wern has been. The judges obviously recognised the enormous impact the redevelopment has had on the local community; the derelict, vandalised and dated building has now been transformed into a brand new, contemporary block of apartments enhancing the whole appearance of the local area.”
Not only are neighbours in the immediate vicinity benefiting from the refurbishment but many other local people are securing themselves an affordable, new home at Cwrt y Wern; with mortgages currently hard to come by and substantial deposits needed, the apartments are being rented out on an innovative tenancy basis called Try Before You Buy. Try Before You Buy enables those who cannot get on the first rung of the property ladder at the moment, the opportunity to move into a new home now and rent inittially then, at a time of their choice, buy a share of the property within the next five years.
Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member for social care and housing Cllr Hugh Evans said:
“This recognition is good news and well deserved. We are trying to improve the availability of affordable housing in Carmarthenshire and this partnership between the county council and Grwp Gwalia is an important part of that.
“Try Before You Buy is an excellent idea which increases the options available for people who want to move into an affordable home.”