Dorset-based AJC Group has won Affordable Housing Development of the Year, at this year’s Insider South West Property Awards. The winning project that impressed the judges – Herbert Avenue – is being delivered in partnership with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.
The regional awards programme recognises and celebrates the work of housebuilders, developers, architects, advisers, and a range of other industry professionals across the South West of England. The awards were sponsored by Lovell, Northavon Group, and Shawbrook, and had a total of 11 categories. The event was compered by Mike Bushell and held at Sandy Park in Exeter.
In the Affordable Housing Development category, AJC Group was up against two other shortlisted projects: Mayflower Leat in Plymouth, Devon – a partnership between Countryside Partnerships, Plymouth Community Homes, Mitchell Architects, Hydrock and Plymouth City Council. The other category finalist was Fleming Park, which is in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, delivered by Bromford.
Located on the site of the former Bourne Valley Community Centre at 56 Herbert Avenue, the winning project is a purpose-designed apartment building that will create much-needed homes for residents who are currently homeless, or who require a form of move-on accommodation. The groundworks and infrastructure phase of the development was completed on schedule, and AJC Group is on track to complete the construction and fit-out phase by August 2023.
David Cracklen, Director of AJC Group, said: “We are delighted to have won the Insider South East Affordable Housing Development of the Year, as Herbert Avenue is a shining example of what partnership working can deliver. This trailblazing development for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has been designed locally, and is being constructed by our local supply chain. And, as soon as the new homes are handed over, they will be occupied by local people.
“With Poole and Sandbanks being such a tourist hotspot, the need for ‘move on’ accommodation might not be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. However, the high cost of living here is why this scheme on Herbert Avenue is so vital. As a specialist in affordable housing, this eco-focused scheme is central to our core social values of building communities and delivering lasting change. We are very proud to be working on a project that will make a real difference to local people and the local economy.”
Councillor Kieron Wilson, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regulatory Services commented:
“This new development is so important to help towards our long-term vision of ending homelessness across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Helping people off the streets and into a safe place that they can call home, is something we’re all very passionate about.
“To be recognised in these industry awards for the social impact of the scheme alongside the green credentials highlights our responsibility to our declared climate and ecological emergency alongside our commitment to reducing and ultimately ending homelessness, and I’m looking forward to seeing this accommodation in use once the development is complete.”
In the five years since AJC Group was established, the rapidly growing housebuilder has tripled its turnover, profit, and team. The founding trio of directors has grown to a multi-disciplined team of over 35 professionals, with AJC Group receiving a national accreditation from Investors In People in 2022. The affordable housing specialist was also crowned Housebuilder of the Year and Fast-Rising Property Company of the Year at The Business Magazine’s 2022 South Coast Property Awards. The company is also a 2023 Property Week RESI Awards finalist.
Six sites are currently under construction by AJC Group, including a development in the village of Okeford Fitzpaine near Blandford Forum in rural Dorset. Live projects on Lindsay Road, The Sloop, and Herbert Avenue, are all located in Poole, while The Sonnet apartment scheme is in Bournemouth. The firm has also recently started construction at one of its largest projects, which will deliver 57 affordable houses and apartments for Aster Group within the former Dorchester Brewery regeneration scheme.