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Project overview

Connect Housing has joined forces with Ecoholmes and the Holme Valley Land Charity to develop 10 new, affordable and low energy homes. 

These new homes will be made available at below-market rents with secure tenancies and let to people with a connection to the local area. 

We will aim to update this page regularly with news and information relating to the development as it progresses.  Hopefully you will find the answers to any questions you may have somewhere on this page.  If you have a question which isn’t currently covered, please use the form at the bottom of the page to send it to us.  Alternatively, you can send us an email at newhomes@connecthousing.org.uk .  You will receive an automated response, and we will update the page with additional information as soon as possible. 

For full plans and drawings, see our planning permission application.

 

Timeline of works

We are currently working towards building beginning in Autumn 2024.

Site clearance work happened in February and March 2024, including: 

  • Removal of invasive shrubs. 
  • Removal of some trees (as provided for in the Planning Application). 
  • Clearing vegetation on the quarry rock face (to allow closer inspection of the surface). 
  • Clearing fly tipping. 

EcoHolmes has been engaging with local community around the site proposals since 2020. 

This included: 

  • Zoom online workshop sessions -Summer/Autumn 2020 & March 2022. 
  • Housing needs survey, conducted by specialist consultants. 
  • Scholes community engagement - June 2021 & March 2022. 
  • Scholes on-line housing survey questionnaire 

Questions and answers

We are a charitable housing association, with our head office in Kirklees, providing homes and support services across West Yorkshire.

We are a Registered Provider of Social Housing, and as such our work is overseen by the official Regulator of Social Housing.  The company’s origins date back almost 50 years, and we now employ around 200 staff and have an annual turnover in excess of £20 million.  

As a community benefit society we are here to serve the interests of our local communities. We operate on a not-for-profit basis, and all our income is re-invested in improving our homes and services, and building new homes for local people.   

We have a strong purpose to tackle inequality and create opportunities for fulfilled, healthy lives. This starts with a good home in a neighbourly community. We take pride in the services we provide for our residents and service users, and we aim to become part of the community where we build new homes. 

We provide 3400 homes across West Yorkshire for lots of different types of households.  Most of the homes we provide are for low-cost rent, mainly for families and older people. We also have some properties which are designated for specific groups of people with additional support needs, including people with disabilities, people who have been homeless or victims of domestic abuse.

The tenants who will live in the new homes will have links to the Scholes local area. It is a planning condition that the homes can only be for affordable housing for local people, and that the homes must remain affordable. 

The development at the Chippings site is being brought forward as a Rural Exception Site.

 This means that EcoHolmes, as the Planning Applicant, had to demonstrate that there was a shortage of affordable housing for local people that was not otherwise going to be met by existing provisions in the local plan. The evidence that EcoHolmes and their experienced consultants put forward as part of the planning application clearly demonstrated that such a need exists. 

The people who will live in the new homes may be family members of people you already know.  People who grew up in the locality, but had to move away because they could not afford to stay.  People who might still be living with parents because they currently have no other option. People who can’t put down roots because their housing situation is precarious.  The people who move in to these new homes may work in local shops and services, may care for older people in the village, and their children may go to the local school. Social housing helps to sustain local communities. 

Connect and EcoHolmes will advertise extensively in the area for all lettings. Local connection will need to be evidenced by applicants, according to a set of criteria which is being finalised with Kirklees Council through the Planning agreement (an example is provided below). Applications will be vetted and the local connections checked, so far as we are able. 

The homes will be for rent and not for sale.  Government rules which allow tenants of social housing to exercise the “Right to Buy” over their home do not apply to this scheme as the rules currently stand, due to these new homes being built under Rural Exception Site rules. Therefore, we anticipate that the properties will remain available for renting in perpetuity. 

Someone with a Local Connection is a person who has one of the following connections to the locality:

(a) currently lives in the locality as their primary residence and has done so for the past three years.

(b) has previously lived in the locality as their primary residence for at least five years cumulatively in the past 10 years. 

(c) has close family (meaning a spouse, civil partner, partner, parent, son, daughter, sibling or grandparent) who ordinarily resides in the locality and has done for the past three years.

(d) needs to move to the locality to receive or provide care or support to a family association.

(e) is employed on a permanent basis for more than 16 hours per week in the locality or is about to take up an offer of permanent employment in the locality.

(f) needs to move to the locality to be close to local facilities because of a specific identified need.

(g) has some other connection to the locality as approved by the Council in writing. 

For the purposes of this scheme, the Locality is defined as the HD9 1 postcode area, with first preference being given to people with a connection to the Scholes Built Up Area (which was defined in the Housing Needs Survey).

Ecoholmes - we are delivering the scheme in partnership with - has produced a brochure with details of the journey to date and plans for the future.

Connect Housing supports EcoHolmes ambitions to create super-energy-efficient homes on the Chippings site. Our aim is to achieve PassivHaus standards, which mean that the homes will have high levels of insulation and air-tightness, and require a fraction of the energy to keep them warm compared to conventional homes.

PassivHaus means that the homes are so efficient, that with careful occupancy to retain heat within the home, they remain comfortable through normal domestic activities and without additional heating on all but the coldest days of the year. Consequently, there is no need to install full heating systems throughout the home. 

We will post updates regularly on this webpage, so please keep coming back from time to time for the latest news.

Inevitably, any development of the site will change the natural environment there. As part of our development proposals, we had to employ specialist consultants to investigate the range of species on the site. The ecological assessment is available on the Kirklees council website as part of our planning application.

It is a requirement for all new developments to deliver a “Biodiversity Net Gain” – which means that we, as the developer, have to show how biodiversity will be improved after the development is completed.  Our plans include a range of measures to encourage and support biodiversity within the boundaries of the site, which is something that we're already doing across many of our existing housing schemes as part of our Sustainability Strategy.

Despite this investment, it's unlikely that we'll be able to achieve all the required improvements within the small area of the Chippings site that we control.  Therefore, any shortfall will be offset by the payment of a biodiversity net gain payment, made to Kirklees Council to be invested elsewhere in projects to support nature.  This is now standard practice across new developments.

In part this was to clear away vegetation so that further ground investigation could be done before finalising the specifications for the building works. It was also appropriate to do some of the work before nesting season begins, to mitigate any impacts on local wildlife. 

We have made sure that we have all the relevant permissions for all the works undertaken so far, and have done what we can to mitigate the ecological impact, including hiring an on-site ecologist to oversee the works as they were carried out. Some trees have only been partially cut down to ensure we stayed within the permitted timber volume limits. Any undergrowth which showed signs of nesting were taped off.  The ecologist confirmed that there were no bat colonies, or signs of any reptile habitation on the site. 

We are aware that the site has been used informally by dog-walkers and by children to play. We have no objection to this continuing until the building work begins, at which time the site will be surrounded by a safety fence for the duration of the work.   

When removing the machinery from site after the vegetation clearance was completed, we understand that the haulage contractor left mud and debris on the local road. Whilst this can be inevitable due to the seasonal nature of the work, when it was brought to our attention, we asked our representatives to investigate and to arrange with the Contractors for the road debris to be cleared.

It was also noted that in clearing a section of vegetation from the top of the quarry face, a section of rotten and broken fencing was revealed. Whilst we don’t believe this section of fencing is within the ownership of the Land Charity, or actually part of the development site, we have arranged for temporary fencing to be erected as a barrier and warning. 

As part of the clearance work, we have also arranged for existing fly-tipped waste, which had clearly accumulated over many years largely hidden by the undergrowth, to be removed.   

When building work starts in future, the contractor and their suppliers will be working to a strict traffic management plan, which will direct the arrangements for vehicle movements and parking to, from and around the site. Some disruption is to be expected, but we will do what we can to minimise this. 

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Connect Housing Association Limited is a charitable association registered in England and Wales under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (Company No. IP17445R) and with the Regulator of Social Housing (No. L2285).

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