Viking funeral means 87 new homes in Hemel

Nigel Roberts, from Hightown Housing Association, at Viking House

Nigel Roberts, from Hightown Housing Association, at Viking House

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Work has started to build 87 affordable new homes on the outskirts of Hemel town centre.

Demolition work has just begun on Viking House in Swallowdale Lane, a block originally built for the Scandinavian multinational Atlas Copco.

It was subsequently used as office accommodation for a variety of firms until it became empty and was bought by private housing firm Hightown in 2014.

The new-build will be made up of 87 one-and-two bedroom flats across four blocks, and is described by the developers as “contemporary architecture, with the vehicular entrance in Redbourn Road leading into a courtyard, and a children’s play area, surrounded by three four-storey blocks, rising to a nine-storey block creating a ‘landmark’ corner building.”

There will also be a “central landscaped space”, with pedestrian access to Swallowdale Lane, as well as 99 parking spaces, and a cycle and footpath linking to the strategic cycle path along the former railway line The Nickey.

Hightown development director George Edkins said: “We know there’s a real lack of affordable housing in Hemel Hempstead and this development will help people who cannot buy or rent their own home at current market rates.

“I’m delighted we’ve got this opportunity to transform a redundant site into an attractive housing scheme in a fantastic location. It will help rejuvenate the area as well as provide much-needed affordable homes for local people.”

The new homes are among the 225 properties that Hemel-based firm Hightown is building in Dacorum over the next five years, at a cost of £45million.

These include 130 homes for affordable and intermediate rent at Maylands Plaza, where work is now well under way.