The next phase of construction has begun at the £100m development at The Mill, Canton which will see the first 100 homes built specifically for affordable rent as part of the non-profit-making Tirion Homes vision for homes for the future. Welsh Government’s Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans, today attended an event on site to mark the start.
The development, known as ‘The Mill’, was initially a collaboration between Welsh Government, Principality Commercial and Tirion Homes, subsequent to which housing developers Lovells and Cadwyn Housing Association have become keynote partners. The initiative will bring sought after affordable homes to the site in west Cardiff which has lain dormant for over 20 years.
Of the 800 homes to be developed at The Mill, half are allocated for affordable rent to be developed and held by Tirion Homes while being managed by Cadwyn. Accordingly the long held vision under this initiative of creating an attractive yet affordable environment is coming closer to reality for households in the area. Separately Lovells are building 358 homes for open market sale and have also been engaged by Tirion as contractor to build the rented homes.
Principality Building Society’s commercial lending division has provided construction finance for the first phase rented homes at The Mill, as well as infrastructure finance for the site as a whole. The first 102 rented homes to be built during this phase will comprise one and two bed apartments, and one to three bed homes with first occupations in mid-2018. The Mill, which will also include a neighbourhood centre, community hall, riverside park, bus routes and cycling paths, is due for completion in 2022.
David Ward, Chief Executive of Tirion Homes said:
“We are delighted to finally make a start on much needed affordable housing at The Mill. We very much look forward to working with our partners Welsh Government, Lovell, Cadwyn and Principality Commercial to ensure the scheme will be a huge success. We believe this scheme will be a major regeneration project for Cardiff that will not only provide much needed choice and affordability in the Cardiff housing market but will also deliver sustainable economic benefits for the local community in the coming decades.
“Tirion is committed to maximising these local economic and social impacts through employment, training and the support of social enterprises over the lifetime of the new community we are creating. We are very grateful for the support of Welsh Government who had the foresight in establishing this ground-breaking initiative back in 2012 which is now ready to bring significant housing and economic benefits across Wales.”
Managing Director at Principality Commercial, Peter Hughes said:
“The Mill is the largest development Principality Commercial has ever been part of and one we’re proud to be involved with. There are huge ambitions for Cardiff as a capital city with investment into large business districts, but we have to ensure there is housing, in particular affordable homes, to supplement the demand and address the current shortfall.
“The Mill is a very exciting development for Principality as it invests directly into Welsh communities, while bringing together local stakeholders to work collaboratively. Between ourselves and Welsh Government – who have shared in this vision – some £20m has been invested in to the site before the first brick could be laid. Without the innovative funding model created here it is hard to see otherwise how this project could have moved forward. The next step of the funding phase will be to draw in long term institutional money from investors who likewise share our confidence in the long term prospects for Cardiff.”
Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans said,
“I was pleased to visit The Mill to see work get underway. I hope this investment can provide people with good quality, safe, affordable homes, which can benefit their health and quality of life.
“This is another step towards our commitment to create 20,000 additional affordable homes by the end of this government term. The latest figures published earlier this month showed a sustained increase in the number of new affordable houses built in Wales over the past year and put us well on track to meet our ambitious target.”
The building work is set to take 18 months, with Tirion aiming to have the first wave of residents move in in mid-2018. In the meantime, the open market homes being developed by Lovells are already being released to the market and selling quickly, with buyers proving to be excited by the attractive neighbourhood and community which is being created.