Tai Calon Community Housing has put the “cosy” back into Cosy Place. They have transformed Cosy Place, an existing block of nine flats based in the middle of Brynmawr Town. Previously these flats were unloved, but not now. Cosy Place is the first of many new developments of affordable homes in Blaenau Gwent.
In partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Tai Calon secured Homelessness Capital funding from the Welsh Government to refurbish Cosy Place and bring the building back to life.
The flats were constructed in 1964 on the former site of the ‘Cosy Cinema’ and were three blocks of purpose-built one and 2-bed flats. Unfortunately, the flats were poorly laid out, the communal access stairs were cramped and did not comply with modern standards. In addition, the general appearance of the buildings and associated external areas were far from appealing.
The partnership of Tai Calon and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council saw this as an opportunity to invest in Brynmawr and to secure funding to remodel the building as a Housing First Scheme.
The two main blocks were taken back to a shell and remodelled to provide nine high-quality 1-bed apartments with high levels of energy efficiency. All apartments have been designed to the Welsh Government Design Quality Regulations and secured by design standards.
All ground floor apartments are fully accessible and include wheelchair access. In addition, the three larger apartments have been designed so that a second bedroom can be easily created by inserting a simple door and partition.
A “fabric first” approach has been taken to ensure the new flats have the highest levels of environmental standards possible. For example, the gas supply has been replaced by air-source heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, domestic battery storage, and heat recovery, used for space heating, hot water generation, all in a bid to reduce energy bills for the new residents. In addition, all apartments have an EPC A rating, meaning their cosiness has a minimal long term environmental impact.
The smaller block of flats to the rear has been demolished to provide additional external space for bin and bicycle storage.
Cosy Place will help home people part of the Housing First Scheme. That scheme gives people who have experienced homelessness a stable home to rebuild their lives.
Housing First gives people the chance to rebuild their lives and ultimately helps to reduce homelessness in Wales.
Cosy Place was officially reopened by Alan Davies MS for Blaenau Gwent. Mr Davies also presented the Brynmawr Historical Society with a plaque for Cosy Place that had an image of the original Cosy Place Cinema engraved. The plaque will be displayed on the front of the building as a reminder of its origins.
Alan Davies MS for Blaenau Gwent said,
I’m very grateful that Tai Calon has been able to deliver on this Welsh Government priority in Brynmawr. One of the things we see right across our society is people who can’t find anywhere to live. People who need a roof over their head somewhere where they can put down roots and begin to rebuild their lives, which is important for us in Blaenau Gwent.
I’m delighted to be here today to see the opening of these flats and this accommodation, which will help transform people’s lives in Blaenau Gwent. It is fantastic Tai Calon have been able to work with our local authority and with Welsh Government to deliver for the people of the borough.
Howard Toplis, Chief Executive at Tai Calon Community Housing, said,
Not only are we converting the Cosy Place flats into cosy homes, but it also marks our start in developing many more new, affordable homes for the people of Blaenau Gwent. This is a big deal for us and our future. However, for now, I can’t wait to welcome those who are soon to move into Cosy Place.