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Housing Association Cartrefi Conwy will be using a pioneering type of eco-friendly external wall insulation to renovate more than 250 homes on the Peulwys estate overlooking Old Colwyn.
In addition, the installation of new boiler systems, loft insulation and draft proofing will help slash 40 per cent off tenants' fuel bills.
The massive project will also be good for the planet. It's estimated that carbon emissions will be reduced by 52 thousand tonnes over a 25 year period. The same system was used on a much smaller scheme involving 50 bungalows in Rhos on Sea, earning Cartrefi Conwy a Gold in the prestigious Green Apple Awards.
It's now all systems go on the Peulwys estate after Conwy County Borough Council granted planning permission. Work is due to start immediately and should be completed by October.
Residents were already celebrating the investment of £400,000 by Cartrefi Conwy to make environmental improvements. Andrew Bowden, Chief Executive of Cartrefi Conwy, said: "This is the largest single environmental project in the county of Conwy in the last 20 years and we are planning to replicate this idea across all our housing stock in the coming years. We have been successful in delivering our £30 million housing improvement programme to bring all our properties up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard before the end of 2012. Now we are mirroring that success with our programme of environmental improvements and this £4 million scheme on the Peulwys estate is a demonstration of how, together with our partners, we intend to make a real difference to our communities across Conwy. Of course, this is being done in full consultation with the people of the Peulwys estate. This scheme would not have got off the ground without their invaluable input."
Cartrefi Conwy revealed its new vision for the estate at a series of consultation events for the people who live there. Tenant Deborah Kennedy, a mother of three, was impressed with the plans. She said, "At the moment it all looks the same. It all looks boring and outdated. I just like the idea of all the different colours."
David Thomas has lived on the estate for 26 years and has high hopes for the project. He said, "I've spoken to some of the staff and I look forward to seeing the work done and when it's finished. During the time I've lived on this estate, people have knocked it. We're looking to the future. I want to see this estate blooming."
Senior Tenant Engagement Officer, Owen Veldhuizen was delighted at the positive reaction. He said, "It's a massive project. The Peulwys estate was built in the 1970s and it wasn't envisioned that it would have a very long lifespan. As a result the walls aren't as thick as a normal traditional house so they have a lot of heat escaping.
"The plan is to have around three inches of insulation on the outside of the houses. It will be rendered with a coloured render so that the whole look of the estate will totally change for the better. Tenants have chosen the colour palette and the configuration of the render and the decision each street should be a different colour.
"We're investing heavily in the Peulwys estate to make sure that it's a place where people want to live and be proud of. This is a 100 per cent transformation of the estate and the way it is perceived. We want people to be envious of everybody who lives here."
Around 230 of the properties on the estate are owned by Cartrefi Conwy and the remaining 35 have owner occupiers. A funding package has been put together so owner occupiers can also have the work done to their homes.
Adrian Johnson, Cartrefi Conwy's Asset and Sustainability Manager, played a key role in securing around £2 million in funding from Scottish and Southern Energy. The money was allocated from the government-backed Community Energy Savings Programme based on the amount of potential reduction in carbon emissions. Mr Johnson said, "The Peulwys estate is in the top 15 per cent of most deprived estates in Wales. Our aim is to totally transform the estate's fortunes and eliminate fuel poverty. We could be cutting fuel bills especially gas bills by about 40 per cent. We have calculated that we're going to be saving approximately 52 thousand tonnes of carbon on this scheme over the next 25 years."
Project manager Steve Walker, from contractors G Purchase, said: "This is going to bring this estate bang up to date and set them up for the next 50 years or more, structurally and aesthetically."
Robert Redhead is a tenant member of the Cartrefi Conwy board and Chair of the Peulwys and District Partnership Board. He said, "This is a very exciting project so long as we can get people to engage, which seems to be happening. It's going to make life a lot easier and save money for people. It's definitely a step forward. We've even put a website up for the project www.parcpeulwys.org.uk and I think it's going to make a big positive difference.
"It's never been a bad place to live but it's going to be lot better. They'll be queuing up to come and live here."
It was a sentiment echoed by Pam Lonie, the Chair of the Cartrefi Conwy board. She said, "This scheme is about the added value that Cartrefi Conwy gives to our tenants and improving the quality of their lives. Our mission is to create communities to be proud of. There has been an on-going transformation of the Peulwys estate since we took over three years ago and this project will be the estate's crowning glory."