My Bron Afon

Opening of Tŷ Newidiadau, Garndiffaith

Twelve new homes built using straw bales and foam insulated panels have been opened in Torfaen for residents aged under 35.

The project, which was funded by £1.48m from the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, is our response to the increasing challenges faced by young people who are unable to access affordable housing.

Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, attended the event along with local politicians, contractors and partners. She took a tour of the building and met some of the new residents.

The scheme was named Tŷ Newidiadau by our youth forum and means ‘house of change’ in English.

Julie James said: “Our £90m Innovative Housing Programme helps to test new approaches and technologies to develop more social and affordable housing and create homes with a lower environmental impact.

“I want to wish the young people moving into these homes a fantastic future here.”

Alan Brunt, our chief executive, said: “These new homes have been built using innovative construction methods. They are a great example of working together to do something different. This development will help young people get into much needed, affordable homes in Torfaen, which is a top priority for us.”

Councillor Anthony Hunt, the leader of Torfaen Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see these innovative homes being built in the borough. It seems it gets harder for every generation to get a home of their own and this scheme will help young local people stay close to friends, family and work in the community.”

Nick Jenkins, Regional Director from ENGIE’s Places and Communities division, the energy and regeneration specialist who built the homes for us, said: “Tŷ Newidiadau was a fantastic opportunity to create a much-needed community for young families to grow. This project has enabled our partnership to explore innovative methods of building eco-friendly housing, in a fast and cost-effective way – all crucial in the provision of social housing. We are absolutely delighted with the completed development and hope that the future residents will enjoy living here.”

Straw bale technology was used to build two one-bedroom flats and six two-bedroom flats.
Foam insulated panels were used to build one one-bedroom flat and three two-bedroom flats.

Once the tenants have moved into the flats next month, their water, gas and electricity usage will be monitored by Welsh Government for a minimum of twelve months.

A weather station is also being installed to assess how well the homes are performing throughout the year, especially during periods of hot or cold weather.

Julie James, AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government and Alan Brunt

Julie James, AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government and Alan Brunt our chief executive

A view of some of the new flats in Garndiffaith.

A view of some of the new flats in Garndiffaith .