Topping out ceremony for 158 affordable homes in Hemel Hempstead

Hightown staff and stakeholders in hi-vis jackets and hard hats and the MP is holding a shovel

Hightown Housing Association has reached a key stage in the construction of its landmark affordable housing development in Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead.  

Sir Mike Penning MP and Leader of Dacorum Borough Council, Cllr Andrew Williams, performed the topping out ceremony alongside David Bogle, Chief Executive of Hightown, Bob Macnaughton, Chair of Hightown’s Board and Ryan Harris, Regional Director for the contractor Hill Group. Other attendees included members of Hightown's Board and development team and Hill Group's construction team.

The development, providing 158 affordable homes for rent and shared ownership as well as three commercial units, is the second phase of Hightown Housing Association's Heart of Maylands project. It is part of the Association's plans to build over 1,000 affordable homes in the next two years to contribute to ending homelessness.

The homes are being built on the site of a disused warehouse, previously used to store books. This is Hightown’s largest development to date and includes 26 two and three-bedroom houses and 132 one and two-bedroom apartments. The 102 homes for rent will go to people in housing need nominated by Dacorum Borough Council, and the 56 shared ownership (part buy, part rent) properties will be available to aspiring homeowners. All of the homes will use air source heat pumps as the heating system, improving sustainability and reducing energy bills.

The first seven shared ownership houses will complete in January 2023. The remaining houses and flats will have phased completions throughout 2023, with the final flats completing in January 2024.

The first phase, Maylands Plaza, is located opposite Hightown's central office and is made up of 130 flats and 10 shops. The project created a 'heart' in Maylands Business Park to retain businesses, employees and drive future investment in the area.

David Bogle, Chief Executive of Hightown, said:

“These new homes will help local people who have been unable to rent or buy on the private market, some of whom are in temporary housing or homeless. It’s all part of our ambition to help fix the housing and homelessness crisis by building as many affordable homes as we can.

We're bringing life back into the business park and the development is a big boost for the Hemel Hempstead economy. By creating jobs and homes for people, we are making a real social impact.”  

Sir Mike Penning MP, added:

"I’m thrilled to see construction taking place on brownfield land which has been regenerated into new energy efficient homes. By building on sites such as this, we protect our beautiful countryside as much as we possibly can. There is a huge housing demand in Hemel Hempstead because the area is doing so well. I look forward to seeing more developments like this which meet local affordable housing needs whilst also protecting our environment.”