CMS Architects have built a successful relationship with First Step Homes SW (Ltd.) a developer whose aim is to provide affordable housing for first time buyers. We have provided Architectural services undertaking feasibility studies for excess of 30 sites throughout the South West over the last 10 years which primarily have been considered as ‘exception sites’ under Local Authority policy, identified for full affordable housing developments. Many of these sites have then progressed to a planning submission and approval received.

Of the projects the most notable is the 100% affordable housing development in Cheddar, one of the largest of its kind, and recognised for its success by Inside Housing being voted one of the Top 50 Affordable Housing Development in the country. The £7 million Cheddar project was a collaboration between First Step Homes and The Guinness Trust with CMS Architects appointed for a full traditional architectural service.

Due to the sensitivities of the use/sites these projects have presented challenges to obtain planning approval which was overcome by early public consultation and stakeholder engagement. Key performance indicators for the projects were compliance with Code for Sustainable Homes, Secure by Design, Lifetime Homes, Building for Life and the National Housing Federation standards, all within restricted and sensitive sites.

The projects which ranged in value from £600k to £7m included both traditional and rather low key solutions to striking contemporary designs which created a vibrant inclusive community and real sense of place and ownership for the occupants.