Ashford Borough Council’s reputation for excellence in the housing sector continues to earn national recognition, with the authority nominated for three prestigious awards.
It is one of eight top-performing councils shortlisted for Strategic Local Authority of the Year at the UK Housing Awards, to be decided in London on 2 May.
Ashford has also just been announced as a finalist in the Housing Heroes Awards 2018, where it’s hoping to pick up the Development Team of the Year prize. The hat-trick of nominations is completed by making the shortlist in the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) South East Building Awards.
The nominations reflect the council’s vision to deliver quality housing and homes for all at a time when local government finances are under pressure as never before.
In its submission for the UK Housing Award for Strategic Local Authority, Ashford Borough Council said that its innovative approach has delivered significant achievements which have been recognised by central government.
It was the first council in the south east to be classed Housing Business Ready, while over 40% of all rural local needs homes built in Kent are built in Ashford. The ground-breaking PFI at Stanhope regenerated the area and more than £11m of projects with HCA funding have been delivered since 2011.
Ashford is up against five other finalists in the Housing Heroes Awards, which are jointly organised by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing. The winners will be announced on 25 June.
The talented five-strong project delivery team from Ashford hoping to scoop the Development Team prize has been supported by officers from across the housing, finance and property departments in an exemplary display of teamwork and collaboration. The team is proud of its involvement in delivering some notable ‘firsts’ in the last 12 months.
The housing department – with excellent support provided by the development team – has delivered Farrow Court, which is a rarity in modern-day social housing provision for older people. Built, owned and run by the council, this 104 home dementia-friendly centre is a flagship project in the area and is recognition of the need to make special provision for the needs of an ageing population – by 2026 it’s anticipated that around 40% of the residents of the Ashford borough will be aged over 50.
Noakes Meadow is the first bespoke wheelchair-user friendly bungalow that has been constructed by Ashford Borough Council and contractors DCB Kent. It has been built for Mr and Mrs MacGregor to accommodate Mrs MacGregor’s disability.
Occupational therapists who have seen the property have commented that it should be the blueprint for the type of bespoke wheelchair-friendly accommodation that ought to be built across the UK.
The conversion of council-owned lock-up garages into two high-quality affordable homes at Boxley in South Ashford has caught the eyes of judges in the LABC Building Excellence Awards for the South East region, in the category of best social or affordable new housing development.
The largely unused garages were in a poor condition and at risk of becoming a hub for anti-social behaviour. Ashford Borough Council teamed up with DCB Kent to provide two highly-practical and attractive three-bedroom homes. The project was delivered on budget and three months ahead of schedule.
Winners of the LABC awards for the South East will be announced on 22 June.
Cllr Gerald White, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said the authority had a well-earned reputation as a trail-blazer when it came to delivering quality affordable homes for local people.
“We continuously seek new opportunities to enhance our portfolio of affordable and supported housing to meet residents’ needs across the borough, both today and in the future.”