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Beer's affordable homes

Beer was named as the runner-up in a Channel 4 competition earlier this year to be named the best village in the UK

And they'll be in a place that served beer

The Beer Community Land Trust wants to build six or seven houses on the old social club site at Berry Hill in the village of Beer. Three or four houses would be rented at affordable rents to people with local connections, with the other three sold at discount to local people.

The council supported a similar scheme in 2013 with an initial development loan of £1.060m to build seven homes in Beer, and all repayments have been made on or in advance of time.

The success of the first scheme should give cabinet some assurance in supporting a second scheme, the council was told.

A loan of up to £1.15m to enable the development of affordable housing in Beer was unanimously granted by the cabinet at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Cllr Geoff Pook, chairman of the Beer CLT, asked for the development loan to deliver a second affordable housing scheme in Beer.

In a letter, he said: “Our track record of delivering houses and repaying loans in accordance with the council, not only at no cost to the council, but potentially gives the council an additional revenue stream.

“The new project is the development of the old social club site and will deliver six or seven houses, depending on final design.

“I would like to apply for a £1.15m facility with draw down in three tranches, site purchase, on completion of all ground works and on completion of the main structure before finishes and services.”

The loan was unanimously backed by East Devon’s cabinet on Wednesday night, with the council’s CEO Mark Williams saying: “The principle of this has been accepted in the past and I have no doubt it will be as successful this time.”

The loan would be secured on land, property and development owned by the CLT.

The council will borrow corresponding amounts as advanced to the CLT from the Public Works Loan Board with the full loan repayment and interest incurred to be met by the CLT.

The grant came as the cabinet also gave unanimously approval for the Beer Neighbourhood Plan to go out for referendum.

Cllr Pook said it was a concise and positive plan, and added: “We understood the need for development and have identified sites and particular sorts of development for affordable housing. The plan protects the environment and jobs.”

A referendum on whether to adopt the neighbourhood plan will take place at a later date. If more than 50 per cent of those who vote say ‘yes’, the plan will be made and will form part of the development plan for East Devon

Beer was named as the runner-up in a Channel 4 competition earlier this year to be named the best village in the UK, losing out to Broughshane in Northern Ireland, thus making Beer England’s best village.

Judges complemented Beer’s fishing and lace making heritage, as well as its community spirit, and in the final called it the jewel in the crown of the Jurassic Coast.

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