A former property developer is spearheading a housing association’s ambitious plans to build more than 100 affordable homes and buy 50 more.
David Kelsall, 49, a qualified chartered surveyor, has been appointed by Cartrefi Conwy as their Development and New Business Manager with the aim of satisfying the growing demand for housing.
Cartrefi Conwy has already invested more than £40 million in its housing stock over the past six years.
According to Mr Kelsall, their planned expansion is great news for the local economy as well as the 2,000 plus people waiting on the housing register in Conwy.
He said contractors will be expected to employ local people and set up local supply chains.
Cartrefi Conwy came into being in 2008 when it took over all Conwy County Borough Council’s houses and flats in a stock transfer voted for by council tenants.
Their first priority was to bring all 3,800 of their properties up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
Mr Kelsall said: “Cartrefi Conwy were one of a handful of registered social landlords to achieve the target set by the Welsh Government by the end of 2012.
“This was done with a major £30 million housing improvement programme which created more than 300 local jobs and a further 300 training opportunities, providing a big boost to the economy of Conwy in the process.
“In addition, Cartrefi Conwy also completed a £4 million transformation of the Parc Peulwys estate in Llysfaen where 250 homes were refurbished and a further £1.2 million has been ploughed into environmental improvements there.”
According to David Kelsall, the next chapter in Cartrefi Conwy’s history is building new homes.
The drive got off to a flyer last year when a small development of six family homes in the former slate quarrying village of Penmachno was named as the best new housing development in Wales.
This year plans have been unveiled for a £3.4 million development of 27 new homes in Llanfairfechan and work is nearing completion on developments in Llandudno providing 26 apartments for older and vulnerable people and 13 family homes.
Mr Kelsall, who was director of family run house builders Kelsall Homes added: “Working for a registered social landlord is a new experience for me but part of the reason I came here really was for the challenge of the new experience and also the size of the schemes.
“We are planning to build an extra 100 affordable homes over the next few years and purchase others from private developers, which is ambitious in today’s climate because funding is very much limited and difficult to obtain.
“But, we believe that using our land and other public sector land as well as working with private sector developers, we can deliver more for less.
“In the last two years we have invested £5 million in schemes in Penmachno, Colwyn Bay and Abergele using local construction companies and supply chain that has employed more than 200 people.
“We achieved more than £5 million of efficiency savings in our procurement process which meant planned schemes were brought forward with over 500 properties receiving the benefit of improvements many years earlier than planned.
“In addition, Cartrefi Conwy has purchased and added nine empty homes to our stock portfolio in the last two years and used local labour to completely refurbish, adapt and bring these homes up to meet Welsh Housing Quality Standard.
“In future we’re going to be working in a variety of ways to build the new homes.
“We’ll be working with developers on a design and build basis, sometimes on land that we own or land that we purchase but we’ll also be working with local, regional or national developers to purchase affordable homes they’ve built to meet their planning obligations.
“Another option is a package deal brought to us by private partners in addition to sourcing the land ourselves and going out to tender to build the properties.
“These are exciting times for Cartrefi Conwy and for me personally.”
Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden: “I am delighted we were able to appoint somebody of David’s calibre to take a lead in our drive to build more affordable homes.
“David has invaluable experience working in the private sector which will be particularly helpful as we look at new ways of working to achieve our goals as we enter a new and important chapter in the history of Cartrefi Conwy.”
Any developers who are interested in working with Cartrefi Conwy should contact David Kelsall by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 0300 124 0040.
Man on a mission…David Kelsall, Development and New Business Manager for Cartrefi Conwy.