The Hinkley Point C workforce is estimated to be 5,600 at the peak of construction activity and about one third of the workforce population at this time is expected to be drawn from the local population (although the proportion of local labour will vary throughout the project, depending on the type of skills required). There will therefore be a need to draw in workers from outside the area, who will require accommodation.
The Accommodation Strategy predicts demand, potential spare capacity and the location of demand, distributed across a broad area. However, in reality, the majority of demand has been in the Sedgemoor area, in close proximity to the main bus routes and the main site. The Strategy makes assumptions about the number of people who will move into the private rented sector and tourism accommodation, those that will buy houses and those who will rent a spare room from local people (latent accommodation).
A new strategy and plan was signed off by Full Council in September 2020. This included the recruitment of a new Hinkley Housing Delivery Officer.
Funding is received from EDF to manage the impacts of Hinkley Point C workers on the housing and rental markets in the district.
The following housing schemes are already in place – supporting people with their housing needs, and solving accommodation issues:
Home Moves Plus
This scheme is run by Magna Housing in West Somerset and by a dedicated officer for the South West and Taunton area. The project supports those in social housing who are under or over-occupying properties, and need to move – freeing-up essential bedroom space for bigger households, and making smaller properties available to individuals or couples when larger families outgrow them:
Tenant Ready Scheme
The Tenant Ready Scheme is focused on enabling and assisting individuals at risk of homelessness to access their own independent accommodation, as well as equipping them with the skills to ensure their move is safe and sustainable.
Information on the other new schemes being developed as part of the Hinkley Housing Solutions Project will be posted here as each one gets up and running. Queries regarding the project should be sent using the online general enquiries form and will be forwarded to the Project Delivery Officer.
The accommodation strategy is ‘campus led’. EDF Energy was granted permission by the Development Consent Order to build two temporary accommodation campuses:
- Sedgemoor Campus, Bath Road, Bridgwater: 986 bedrooms
- Hinkley Campus, close to the main site, West Somerset: 510 bedrooms
The campuses include catering and leisure facilities, which are managed by a facilities management company called HOST, on behalf of EDF Energy. The availability of campus accommodation will reduce the extent to which the Hinkley Point C workforce will require accommodation within other forms of private rental accommodation.
The temporary Sedgemoor Campus will be dismantled when the construction at Hinkley Point C is complete as it is modular and cannot be converted into permanent housing. However, the work carried out to prepare the site for habitation (following former industrial use) and its location with the North East Bridgwater Strategic Urban Expansion area, make it a suitable location for future development. The site has outline planning consent for permanent housing and lies at the centre of the Hinkley Housing Zone.
Support for the local housing market
EDF Energy have established a Housing Fund to assist the local housing market in accommodating the Hinkley Point C workforce. Councils have used this funding to increase capacity and to help relieve any potential adverse effects on the local housing market. In 2016, the Council commissioned two reports to evaluate the potential impact on the local housing market and to consider appropriate mitigation.
The reports can be viewed here:
Examples of initiatives carried out by the Council which have received funding include:
- Empty homes grant
- Minor improvement grant
- Lodgings scheme
- Flexible rent support
The Council has also used this funding to carry out a number of housing enabling schemes to create new permanent, affordable homes by using money from the EDF Energy Housing Fund to lever in additional investment and help facilitate stalled development.