Scrutiny of the More Homes Parc Yr Helyg Site Options Appraisal

The Scrutiny Programme Committee met on 19 June to look at the report on the More Homes Parc Yr Helyg Site Options Appraisal that was subsequently presented to Cabinet on 21 June.  The Committee gave their view on the proposed decision to Cabinet.

The report put forward the proposals for the second development at Parc Yr Helyg which consists of 16 one/two bedroom homes, including the appraisal of options and recommended approach in relation to design standards.

After considering the report some of the issues the Committee highlighted to Cabinet include, for example (full copy of the letter can be seen here):

  • In terms of the overall decision that the Cabinet is being asked to take, the Committee has no objections to the recommendations. However there was concern amongst some members at the significant cost of external works at Parc Yr Helyg.  The report states that this is due to the nature of the site, the need to divert / move overhead cables, major works to deal with surface water drainage, and need for retaining walls. Councillors debated the cost / benefit of such work and how it impacted on unit costs and viability of build.
  • The Committee understood the reasons for the Swansea Standard being the preferred specification, and the need to push forward with the house building programme in order to provide more affordable housing, and support the Council’s efforts towards poverty reduction. However, given the financial implications Cabinet will need to think carefully about building homes at any cost, and whether it would be better to focus on the Colliers Way site instead given the particular challenges described at Parc Yr Helyg.
  • The Committee noted the lessons learnt from the first pilot project at Colliers Way difficulties and that the Swansea Standard would be seen as innovative and more likely to attract funding from the Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme and Affordable Housing Grant. Though it was not known at this stage how much of the costs a successful bid would cover, and the outcome may impact on final design specifications and extent of innovative features.
  • They also agreed that a completed build based on both Passivhaus at Colliers Way and Swansea Standard at Parc Yr Helyg would enable a more accurate comparison of the performance and cost of both specifications to inform future decisions about further house building.
  • Committee Members remarked on the impressive delivery of new homes at Colliers Way, and once again congratulations to all involved. They were particularly pleased to hear about the contribution that was made by our apprentices and positive experiences they gained from being involved in the project.

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