‘Much needed’ Ayton homes receive seal of approval from tenants

Back row: Allan Callaghan (Cruden Building MD) and Michelle Meldrum (BHA chief executive). Front: Angela Taylor (BHA property director) and Frank Gallagher (construction manager)

THE first affordable homes built by Berwickshire Housing Association in 18 years have been hugely popular at Beanburn in Ayton.

The 31 homes, built by Cruden Building (East), attracted a total of 3,293 applications. The properties make up Phase 1 of the development and comprise a mix of bungalows, wheelchair accessible homes and three and four-bedroom houses.

BHA has owned the site for over 20 years and worked in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Government to bring the much needed homes to Ayton.

A masterplan exercise was carried out with architects Smith Scott Mullen, which included a public consultation, the results of which were fed into the final design. A mix of house types and sizes were identified in a local housing needs assessment.

As part of BHA’s policy, 50% of new-build homes are let to existing customers. One existing tenant to be allocated a new home at Beanburn is Derna Lough. She said, “I am just so, so pleased with my new home – I’m delighted, overawed and over the moon! It’s great having a beautiful and bright new home. I especially love my bedroom and the downstairs toilet is invaluable. I wouldn’t change a thing. Everyone at BHA has been so helpful and nice and I cannot thank them enough. It’s just a wonderful feeling to have a new house.”

New BHA tenants Marion and Kenzie Dickson are also delighted with their new ‘wheelchair friendly’ home. Kenzie said, “We are very happy with our new house as it has been purpose build for disabled access. The whole layout and the way it flows is great.” Marion added, “Getting outside to the garden in my wheelchair is just so much easier and I can get around the rooms without any problems. We are really happy here and have been enjoying being in the garden with our dogs during the lovely weather.”

All the properties are described as offering ‘modern and spacious’ homes that are energy efficient. The houses meet Silver standard for energy efficiency and have the latest in heat pumps for hot water and space heating and two meet Gold Standard.

Angela Taylor, BHA’s property director, said, “We are excited to be bringing these high-quality new homes to Ayton, our first new builds in the village for 18 years, providing a welcome boost to the local community. Thanks to our excellent working relationship with Cruden Building (East) Ltd we are providing a total of 31 affordable homes which meet a very high standard of energy efficiency and, with the support of our partners the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council, we are increasing the numbers of much needed affordable housing in Berwickshire.”

The Beanburn project is the fifth to be delivered by Cruden Building (East) in partnership with BHA and will bring the total number of homes they have delivered jointly to 129.

A number of Borders companies were employed as subcontractors on the project, including: A.S. Crawford, Denholm (groundworks), Teviotdale, Jedburgh (plumbing) and CIS, Duns and St Boswells (bricklayers). Cruden also donated £2,000 to Ayton Primary School as part of the firm’s commitment to investing in the local community.

Some land has been allocated to Abundant Borders for use by the community while bird and bat boxes have also been included in the work carried out

Allan Callaghan, MD of Cruden Building (East) said, commented, “We are pleased to continue our strong working relationship with Berwickshire Housing Association as we deliver our fifth project together – bringing quality, energy-efficient homes to the local area. At Cruden we take pride in building communities, not just homes and we have supported local sub-contractors throughout the build programme and donated to Ayton Primary School to help maximise the benefits to the local economy.”

Planning approval was granted for a total of 50 homes at Beanburn with Phase 2 expected sometime in the future.