Pioneering business park kick-starts construction of 300 new homes

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A housing association has built a new business park to create a £30 million a year construction hub.

The ground-breaking development by Cartrefi Conwy in Mochdre will kick start plans for regeneration projects across North Wales and to build up to 300 new homes.

It is the first of its kind in Wales and will also provide jobs and training for unemployed tenants so they can get back into the world of work.

Two of the six units at the £1.7 million business park will be rented by Cartrefi Conwy subsidiary, Creating Enterprise, a social enterprise that’s on course to turnover £9 million this year.

Cartrefi Conwy, Creating Enterprise, Mochdre; Pictured are Sharon Jones – Business & Partnership Director Sharon Jones, Chief Executive Andrew Bowden and Adrian Johnson – Managing Director – Commercial Services Managing Director Adrian Johnson.

Creating Enterprise, which became the first organisation of its kind in Wales when it began operating three years ago, provides a planned maintenance service for the 4,000 properties managed by the housing association.

It  has also landed contracts with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Conwy County Borough Counciland Dylan’s restaurant in Llandudno.

The organisation runs a pioneering employment academy which has already helped 14 unemployed tenants find full-time jobs.

In addition, it’s also created 50 jobs and provided training for almost 200  tenants  who are looking for work..

Others moving into the new Cartrefi Conwy Business Park include local firm Brenig Construction and builders’ merchants Travis Perkins.

The news comes as the housing association prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

According to Adrian Johnson, the managing director of Commercial Services for the Cartrefi Conwy group, one of their aims was to create new sources of income apart from the rents they collect from tenants.

He said: “We are diversifying our business, creating new income streams through construction related activities but ensuring tenants are given as many work opportunities as possible.

“Over the next five years as a group we’re looking at constructing up to 250 to 300 homes, through social housing grant programmes and working with a range of  developers across North  Wales.

.“We’ll be spending around  £30 million just on new-build provision locally in the area.

“On top of that we’re still actively refurbishing our existing stock with a programme of £5 million to £6 million per annum over the next five years maintaining the stock to ensure the continue to meet  the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.“That work is now being carried out by the Creating Enterprise.

“As a result, we’re creating employment opportunities for tenants and pumping money back into the local economy.

“The idea is to help tenants who really have struggled to get jobs by giving them an opportunity on these work schemes, learning new skills, with the profits being recycled for into giving tenants opportunities for work.

“Travis Perkins and Brenig Construction will also be tenants within the Business Park. These companies are key to our supply chain so we will be creating a construction hub with an overall annual turnover of around £30 million.”

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “This is an innovative idea that is going to provide a massive economic boost for the county of Conwy.

“Creating the business park is an investment to create a long-term return to enable Cartrefi Conwy to actually deliver more for the community, particularly in Conwy but also across North Wales.

“It is a way of bringing in more income whilst at the same time providing a fantastic facility for our tenants through Creating Enterprise and the employment academy where they can gain volunteer and work experience and ultimately find full-time employment.

“We are the first housing association in Wales to invest in a business park so these are exciting times.

“We will never forget that our core business is looking after our tenants and by diversifying in this way we can create communities to be proud of.

“We are fortunate to have a board that believes in the vision and understands that we need to invest so we can give long-term, sustainable income to the business.”

“We are creating a virtuous circle and it is the perfect way to celebrate our 10th anniversary.”