Work begin on landmark eco-friendly beachside homes

Thu 15 Apr 2021

Work is set to begin on an ambitious £13m regeneration project that will see the creation of 55 new homes and the transformation of 72 existing homes at a prime location close to Aberavon beach.

The landmark project is part of Tai Tarian’s commitment to create sustainable, energy efficient homes for social rent.

Originally built in the 1950s, the landmark ‘County Flats’ benefit from views of the seafront, but have been in desperate need of modernisation in recent years.

In keeping with their commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030, Tai Tarian will use the re-development modernise the flats and introduce a series of energy efficient measures to really enhance residents’ living experience.

The development will maximise the use of natural insulations to help keep the homes warm and reduce the amount of energy needed to heat them. This, combined with the latest technology; including solar panels, battery storage and intelligent energy systems will allow each home to interact with the grid, making them among the most environmentally friendly homes in Wales.  

The new build element of the project will also benefit from super-efficient heating systems that will keep properties warm, whilst creating considerable savings for residents.  

The innovative development will be funded by Welsh Government’s Social Housing Grant and Innovative Housing Programme (IHP). This is aimed at building more environmentally friendly homes whilst meeting their decarbonisation housing pledge.

Neath based company J.G Hale Construction have been awarded the contract to undertake the work and have committed to creating 77 local jobs and training opportunities.  They will also work with local supply chains to ensure maximum community and financial benefits from the project.

As part of Tai Tarian’s sustainable communities and planet pledge, open spaces near the flats will be enriched for local people to enjoy, utilising natural play elements and enhancing the active travel routes in the area.

Existing residents of the ‘County Flats’ will be relocated to other Tai Tarian properties, so the redevelopment work can be carried out safely.

Tai Tarian Director of Assets Andrew Carey said:
“The ‘County Flats’ are a prominent part of the Aberavon seafront. Built in the 1950s, the flats are looking tired and are in desperate need of updating. This development will do just that and will provide homes that will be amongst the most energy efficient and sustainable homes in Wales. This will make a huge difference to the running costs for our tenants.

“It’s fantastic that we will be working with J.G Hale Construction who have committed to using local products and local people.

“Demand is high to live in one of the most picturesque parts of the borough, so we are pleased to be able to add an additional 55 homes to this area.”

David Harrhy, Managing Director at J.G Hale Construction and Sevenoaks Modular added:
“J.G Hale Construction are delighted to have the opportunity to deliver this innovative development and further bolster our flourishing relationship with Tai Tarian. The project will deliver much-needed sustainable homes within Neath Port Talbot.

“In partnership with our timber frame company, Sevenoaks Modular, the County Flats development will pilot the use of several natural forms of insulation, including mycelium (mushrooms), Welsh sheep’s wool (sourced from nearby Crynant Farm), and wood-fibre insulation (created in-house from waste timber). These insulation methods will be assessed for their viability in the wider construction industry.

“We will also be working with Neath Port Talbot College, to facilitate the delivery of in-house traineeships and apprenticeships, tailored around the innovative nature of the development.

“Alongside the development, we’ll be joining Tai Tarian to deliver a range of community benefits initiatives for the Sandfields area, coinciding with the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Wales Act, 2015.

“Also, 95% of our project supply-chain will be sourced from either a Neath or Swansea postcode, maximising the benefits of the project on the local economy and each home will also achieve an EPC rating of A, helping the residents to avoid fuel poverty.”

Along with this development, Tai Tarian are also building five new bungalows in Caewern, 10 new homes in Skewen, 10 flats in Neath town centre, 20 homes in Melin and 31 homes in Briton Ferry.

The housing provider is also collaborating with partners from across Wales on the Welsh Government’s Optimised Retrofit Programme. As part of this, Tai Tarian will be retrofitting an initial 100 existing homes to create more environmentally friendly ways for tenants to live by reducing their energy use and carbon footprint.