£4.3m plan to transform estate will create jobs and work experience for tenants

A housing association has unveiled a £4.3 million plan to transform a 1970s estate in Llanrwst following consultation with residents.

Cartrefi Conwy is proposing to demolish a block of 30 maisonettes and flats at the Glanrafon housing estate and replace it with 14 zero carbon modular homes – creating jobs and work experience for unemployed tenants in the process.

As part of the overall scheme, six nearby blocks of 30 apartments are being given a massive makeover to give them a brand new modern look.

Work to improve the apartments began earlier this year and the organisation has now submitted a planning application to Conwy County Borough Council to demolish the block of maisonettes and flats and build much needed three and four bedroom family homes.

If permission is granted, the timber frames will be manufactured by Cartrefi Conwy’s subsidiary, Creating Enterprise, at their factory in Holyhead before the modular properties are erected on site.

The social enterprise, the first of its kind in Wales, also runs an Employment Academy to provide opportunities, training and qualifications for unemployed local people, including Cartrefi Conwy tenants.

They have partnered with Norfolk-based Beattie Passive, the UK’s leading manufacturer of advanced passivhaus homes, low-energy buildings.

The factory employs four carpenters and will provide jobs for four more local people who are currently unemployed, as well as providing work experience for 50 others who are struggling to find jobs.

High performance insulation will be used to make the homes completely draught free, cutting heat loss to create a home with minimal environmental impact and saving residents up to 90 per cent in annual energy costs.

Cartrefi Conwy,  conducted a number of consultations with local people to determine what they needed before coming up with the plan for the estate.

The original mainsonettes were designed in 1968 and were no longer fit for purpose.

The remaining six blocks of apartments are undergoing a huge £1.8 million improvement programme which includes re-roofing them and adding render and insulation to the outside walls.

All the windows are being replaced and some of them have been redesigned, whilst the staircases are being enclosed and a new secure door entry system added.

Outside the children’s play area, which is at the heart of the estate, will also be improved.

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “When the Glanrafon estate was designed in the late 1960s, they provided what was then state-of-the-art accommodation to  meet the housing needs of the local community at that time.

“However, they were no longer fit-for-purpose which is why we are investing more than £4 million to reconfigure and improve the estate so that it meets the needs and expectations of our tenants today and into the future.

“The six blocks of apartments will be unrecognisable as they are being transformed into attractive, high quality, well-insulated homes.

“Meanwhile, if we are successful in gaining planning permission, we will be investing £2.5 million in building the 14 modular properties which will provide much-needed three and four bedroom family homes.

“The modular system is very quick and efficient. We can put the frame of a house up in two days – it’s the future of building.

“The timber frame can be clad in any material you like and then internally there is plasterboard and an airtight membrane which seals the house so there is little or no heat loss.

“The properties are very advanced in terms of building control standards, exceeding sound-proofing requirements and it has in-built barriers to radon gas, an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground.

“It’s up to passive standard which means they are going to be among the most energy efficient homes you can build in the UK.”