Getting onto the housing ladder

 L-R: Councillor Kevin Guy, Charles Gerrish, Councillor Tom Davies, Councillor Richard Samuel

It’ll soon be moving-in-time for new residents of two energy-efficient, affordable houses in Bath after the properties were formally acquired by Bath & North East Somerset Council for shared ownership.

The two semi-detached three-bedroom homes at Sladebrook Road are within the exemplar development of nine properties being carried out by the council’s construction and development company, Aequus Construction Limited (ACL).

The council has now completed the acquisition of the properties at St Joseph’s Court from ACL and made them available to local residents on a shared ownership basis under the government-regulated Help to Buy scheme.

The scheme offers people who are unable to afford a mortgage on 100% of their home to buy a share of a property and pay subsidised rent on the remaining share, making the total cost less than the market value.

St Joseph’s Court leads the way in sustainability by incorporating energy efficiency measures such as air source heat pumps and solar panels, which will save residents more than 50% on energy bills.

The homes emit no net carbon in use, helping Bath and North East Somerset reach its target of net carbon zero by 2030. All properties benefit from electric vehicle charging points.

Councillor Tom Davies, cabinet member for Adults and Council House Building, said: “Finding affordable properties in Bath can be a challenging prospect for many people, so I’m delighted that these shared ownership properties have been secured and are set to make a difference to the new owners’ lives. Through the acquisition of the properties, we’ve been able to help residents get onto the housing ladder who might not otherwise have been able to. The sustainability credentials of these high-quality homes will benefit the residents financially and contribute to our climate emergency goals.”

Charles Gerrish, Chairman of Aequus said: “This exemplar development of low energy homes has demonstrated what can be achieved by developers and the important role housing has to play in meeting the climate emergency challenge. All the homes on the development are now sold and we are pleased that two of these will be supporting the council to provide more affordable homes for our communities.” 

St Joseph’s Court, named after the former church located on the site, has been built to AECB Energy Efficient Building Standards which reduces overall CO2 emissions by 70% compared to the UK average for similar buildings. The site was acquired by Aequus from the Diocese of Clifton in 2019.

A legal covenant for the development will be in place to restrict any future use of the homes as HMOs.

Aequus is also developing the first new socially rented properties built for Bath and North East Somerset Council in nearly three decades at 117 Newbridge Hill in Bath. Formerly used as council offices, the Victorian building is being converted into seven 1 and 2-bed apartments as one of the first steps in the authority’s new Council House Building Programme.

The council’s former offices in Keynsham at Riverside View have also been developed by Aequus to provide 95 studio, one and two-bedroom apartments for the local community and support the regeneration of the town. All apartments have been sold and the development generated £2.63m plus dividends to the council, used to fund frontline services.

Aequus is wholly owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council with all net profits, currently estimated at £1m a year, returned to the council for public services.

Find out more about Aequus at: https://www.aequusdevelopments.co.uk/