Supporters and dignitaries gathered for the launch of a £1.5m scheme to bring affordable homes to the West Midlands and breathe new life into a derelict plot.
The old Mayfield House site on Enville Street, Stourbridge, which has stood empty for years, is to be transformed into new affordable and eco-friendly homes.
The 11 apartments will have solar panels and ground source heat pumps and the scheme will also include a shared workshop space for creatives to use.
A ‘first spade in the ground’ ceremony was held with representatives from the Stourbridge Community Development Trust, Stourbridge Community Land Trust, West Midlands Urban Community Homes, West Midlands Combined Authority, Green Square Accord and Dudley Council in attendance.
Councillor Cat Eccles, who represents Wollaston and Stourbridge Town ward on Dudley Council, said: “This is a really exciting and positive scheme to provide sustainable housing in this area. I attended the first meeting of the trust five years ago when this idea was first discussed, so it’s great to see it come to fruition.”
Former councillor Nicolas Barlow has also been a supporter of the scheme and said he was delighted to have been invited along for the official launch ceremony.
The idea was first put forward five years ago by singer-songwriter Eddy Morton, who owns Katie Fitzgerald’s pub and music venue in Stourbridge.
He organised a committee which developed into Stourbridge Community Development Trust. Working with colleague Anthony Hughes, the trust put forward its Stourbridge PowerHaus Project in partnership with Accord Housing Association supported by West Midlands Urban Community Homes (wMUCH).
Eddy said: “It has been a long journey and we are delighted that this project is now to become a reality. We wanted to tackle the issues of affordability of rent and energy for creatives and key workers and do something to help in the fight to tackle climate change.
“This project does all of that – and it brings a site that has been derelict for so many years back into use.”
Work on the apartments is due to start in November and last for 18 months in partnership with Green Square Accord.
The one and two-bedroom apartments will be rented out by Stourbridge Community Land Trust in perpetuity at 80% of local market rent.
The site will feature an eye-catching art installation created by three local artists, David Johnson, known as DJ, Cal and Bob Teale.