Published: 08:00, 25 July 2021
| Updated: 08:12, 25 July 2021
Two blocks of flats which cost a council £18.5 million have been officially launched.
The 109 flats comprising Somerset Heights and Stour Heights in Ashford have finally been completed around The Panorama building.
A large proportion of the lettings have been allocated to key workers, honouring a pledge made when Ashford Borough Council (ABC) acquired the homes from developer Dukelease last autumn.
A priority lettings scheme has been devised to provide affordable rented accommodation to key workers that have a housing need – a first for ABC.
Cutting a ribbon to open the scheme earlier this month, Ashford mayor Cllr Callum Knowles (Con) said: “I believe Ashford leads the way in housing development in Kent and that’s why I’m especially proud to be here today to officially open this development.
“I am especially pleased to see that a core aim has been to provide affordable rented accommodation to key workers that have an identified housing need.
“Prioritising lettings to men and women who have been on the front line during the pandemic is the right thing to do and it’s wonderful to learn that a large percentage of the tenants who have moved in are key workers.”
Cllr Bill Barrett (Con) said the opening of the development – which features one and two-bed flats – shows the council is committed to the town centre.
He said: “Ashford is committed to delivering quality, affordable homes and today’s official opening is a clear message to those on our waiting list that we’re doing everything we can to deliver affordable housing.
“The fact that Stour Heights and Somerset Heights occupies such a prominent site in our town centre shows that the council has a real stake in our town centre and a vested interest in making it a vibrant place.
"One in which we create opportunities for those who work here to feel part of something special.
“I pay tribute to the council’s head of housing Sharon Williams and her dedicated team who have worked tirelessly to get this deal completed, including drawing up a comprehensive keyworker lettings policy from scratch.”
The scheme was originally approved by ABC planners in 2012.
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