The first new socially rented properties built for Bath and North East Somerset Council (BNES) in nearly three decades are advancing at Newbridge Hill in Bath.

The Victorian building at 117 Newbridge Hill, formerly used as council offices, is being converted into seven 1 and 2-bed apartments as one of the first steps in the authority’s new Council House Building Programme.

The installation of a new roof is nearly complete, and the old interiors have been stripped out. The new internal layouts are progressing well with portioning, electrical and blockwork underway.

The refurbishment of the building features improved sustainability measures including replacement windows, additional insulation, low energy lighting and A-rated boilers.

A new cycle shelter will be provided together with a communal electric vehicle charging point.

The apartments are being developed by the council’s housing company Aequus Construction Ltd, and will be allocated through Homesearch, the council’s single access point for social housing in the district.

The first phase of the Council House Building Programme will provide 58 new council houses for social rent to help meet the demand for affordable homes in the area. The homes will be designed, delivered, and owned directly by the council.

Councillor Tom Davies, cabinet member for council house building, said: “The refurbishment of 117 Newbridge Hill is now well advanced and will make a valuable contribution to providing affordable homes in B&NES when they become available later this year. High property prices and rents in the city render them too expensive for many people, so we are committed to delivering homes that offer a realistic prospect for residents.

Our Council House Building Programme also includes a commitment to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies. I’m pleased that despite the age of 117 Newbridge Hill, the apartments will include sustainable measures to lower the building’s carbon footprint and create a healthy indoor environment for future residents.”

Charles Gerrish, the Aequus chair, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Council to support the delivery of its affordable housing programme helping to support greater housing choice and quality in line with our company aims”.

Aequus has already redeveloped the council’s former offices in Keynsham at Riverside View, providing 95 studio, one and two bedroom apartments to provide more housing for the local community and support the regeneration of the town. All apartments have been sold and the development generated £2.63m plus dividends to the council, used to fund frontline services.

The first low-energy properties in Bath that are part of the council’s commitment to build more affordable and sustainable housing have also been developed by Aequus at Sladebrook Road in Bath. The nine four-bedroom detached and three-bedroom semi-detached homes are built to the AECB Low Energy Standard and feature air source heat pumps, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery and solar panels, alongside electric vehicle charging points. Two of the homes are available to buy under shared ownership.

It is expected the new apartments will be completed in autumn 2022.

Image source: Bath and North East Somerset Council

© Western Whistle (powered by

Sign up to receive your free weekly Western Whistle journal here.