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15 energy-efficient almshouses completed for Girton Town Charity after £5m project





Fifteen new energy-efficient almshouses for local residents have been completed, thanks to a Cambridge charity’s £5million project.

Girton Town Charity has now taken ownership of Dovehouse Court after an 18-month building programme.

At the almshouses in Girton are, from left, Jamie Saunders, director, Northmores; Matthew Ramplin, senior contracts manager, Barnes Construction; Ann Bonnett, chair, Girton Town Charity; Robin Hiley, trustee, Girton Town Charity and Ian Bramwell, director, Mole Architects (63346951)
At the almshouses in Girton are, from left, Jamie Saunders, director, Northmores; Matthew Ramplin, senior contracts manager, Barnes Construction; Ann Bonnett, chair, Girton Town Charity; Robin Hiley, trustee, Girton Town Charity and Ian Bramwell, director, Mole Architects (63346951)

The homes are all built to the stringent Passivhaus environmental standards following the work by Barnes Construction, Northmores and Mole Architects.

Energy-efficient windows and doors, with strict levels of airtightness, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, and high levels of building insulation are included to cut energy costs and improve air quality.

It takes the number of almhouses managed by Girton Town Charity to 28, with others at Suffolk Terrace and Centenary Court.

The charity is now welcoming back residents who lived in the former bungalows on the site, as well as inviting applications from Girton residents over 55 or those who have a close connection to the village who would like to be considered for one of the homes.

Almhouses are subject to different legal arrangements to private, council or housing association tenancies.

Residents are ‘appointees’, not ‘tenants’, and are selected following an interview. They live in the house under licence and pay a maintenance contribution, rather than rent. There is no right-to-buy or opportunity for shared equity.

Ann Bonnett, the charity’s chair, said: “This is a major milestone for us and we are delighted to have now taken ownership of Dovehouse Court and after many years, seen our plans to futureproof housing in our village come to fruition. I’d like to thank all the contractors who worked on the site for doing such a splendid job over the last 18 months as well as my fellow trustees.

“We are also very grateful to the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority which has given us a grant of £675,000 towards the cost of creating these new homes to be appreciated by residents for many years to come.”

The charity, which can trace its roots back to 1521, funded the rest of the build. It sold a large area of land at Wellbrook Way for development in 2003, increasing its endowment, which is held in perpetuity for the charity. The interest received on investment of the endowment funded the build of Dovehouse Court on land belonging to the charity, which is designated for almshouse use only.

Almshouses in various sites have been part of Girton since the early 19th century, although aside from the new ones at Dovehouse Court, they dated from the 1930s and 1960s.

The new homes are designed for extended independent living, with a master bedroom and small second room, an open plan living/kitchen/dining area and access to balconies or individual terraces on the ground floor. Residents will also benefit from a central communal landscaped garden with seating, an orchard and allotments.

Matthew Ramplin, senior contracts manager at Barnes Construction, said: “Dovehouse Court has been a special project for us, building to Passivhaus standards to create energy-efficient almshouses that will be cost-effective to run and comfortable for residents. I’d like to thank our consultant team, our own team on-site and also Girton Town Charity for giving us the opportunity to be part of its vision to expand housing provision in the Village.”

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and leader of the Combined Authority, said: “This is a wonderful development for the people of Girton, providing energy efficient homes that are not only practical, but also enjoyable places to live with access to communal green space. Allowing extended independent living for those with a connection to Girton benefits us all, and I wish all of the residents who will begin moving in next month the very best for the future.”

Visit girtontowncharity.org.uk for more.



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