Tenants come together for Wales’ first urban community housing co-operative
West Rhyl Community Land Trust (WRCLT) and North Wales Housing Association (NWHA) have established Wales’ first urban community co-operative housing project with the support of the Wales Co-operative Centre.
Afallon Housing Development West Rhyl Co-operative, which will be based on Abbey Street, will aim to build an empowered community.
Yesterday, a forum was held which saw tenants of Afallon (Welsh for ‘blissful place’) meet for the first time and make decisions affecting the way they live at the 11 brand new properties being built. The properties are set to be completed by this summer and will be based near the Gerddi Heulwen urban greenspace in West Rhyl.
Tenants will take responsibility for issues such as the reporting of repair and maintenance concerns and will have the potential to decide how the landlord’s management allowance is spent. At the Afallon training day, tenants will also learn how to organise estate services such as cleaning, supplier appointments and security.
Elected members will also be expected to attend regular board meetings – with two WRCLT members and two NWHA members – to voice collective opinions and cast votes on issues that may affect their community.
Dave Palmer, Housing Co-operative Project Manager, Wales Co-operative Centre, attended last night’s forum, “It was great to see good progress on site, and even better to meet a dozen of the residents who will form the basis of the community, whilst their homes are being built. To know your neighbours, through training before moving in, will give them an excellent start”.
To be considered for the property, potential tenants had to have lived, worked or volunteered in Rhyl for at least two of the past five years. The scheme proved to be extremely popular, with 45 applications for the 11 properties. Applications were whittled down through a rigorous selection process which included home visits and assessments against key criteria addressing their suitability for the roles expected of them.
The Gerddi Heulwen housing development project in West Rhyl is one of the most significant housing developments in Wales. Located in an area once known as Wales’ most deprived location.