HRH The Princess Royal officially opens Keyte Gardens

Midlands Rural Staff joined Warwickshire Rural Housing Association (WRHA) who welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to officially open its ground-breaking new development in Wootton Wawen on 25th September.

Working in partnership with Morton Wykes Kramer Architects, Bouygues UK, Waterloo Housing Group and Homes England, WRHA has completed Keyte Gardens, Warwickshire’s first Passivhaus development of affordable homes.

HRH The Princess Royal was greeted by flag-waving pupils from Years 4 and 5 at Wootton Wawen CofE Primary School, before being welcomed by Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Mrs Janet Smith JP, DL.

The Princess was introduced to Clare Sawdon, High Sheriff of Warwickshire, and other local dignitaries, as well as key individuals who have helped this ambitious development come to fruition including Cllr John Cooke, Chairman of Warwickshire County Council; Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Derrick Dyas, Chairman of Warwickshire Rural Housing Association.

HRH then visited some of the new residents who have recently moved in to their ultra-low energy homes including Christine Hughes and Nathan and Rebecca Crowe and their daughter, Charlotte, aged two.

The Princess met residents and guests who have been involved in this community-led development, before formally opening Keyte Gardens.  A wooden sculpture featuring a bee design to honour Denis Keyte, the development’s namesake, was unveiled.

Local pupils, four-year-old Annabel and nine-year-old Matthew, then proudly presented a posy to The Princess.

Morton Wykes Kramer Architects were involved in a seven-year research and development project to bring these exceptionally low energy homes to the affordable housing sector where fuel poverty is a key issue.

Funding of £460,000 was agreed with Stratford-on-Avon District Council, along with £350,000 from Homes England through the Affordable Housing Programme.  Local family business, Allens Caravans, made the land available at a reasonable rate which made the development of 12 properties for affordable rent and 2 for shared ownership viable.

Speaking at the opening, Derrick Dyas, Chairman of WRHA, said: “Keyte Gardens embodies the very epitome of partnership working with local communities to achieve affordable housing for local people.  The importance of what we have achieved here must not go unrecognised.”