WORK is underway on 125 new affordable homes in Somerset.

Housing provider Stonewater has announced construction has started on the homes, on the Wayside Farm site in Castle Cary, now known as Mulberry Meadows.

The scheme will feature a mixture of one to four-bedroom homes, including bungalows, and will be built by energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE, with the first phase of properties expected to complete in spring next year.

The development – which spans 18.7-acres with ample open space – is centred around a village green and local play area.

And Stonewater has committed to additional funding for landscaping, which will include an eco-trail, wildflower meadow and community orchard to benefit the residents.

Phillippa Yeates, regional development manager at Stonewater, said: “As with all our projects we always look to utilise local labour and offer employment and training opportunities.

"At Stonewater we build communities, not just houses, while working towards our vision of giving everyone the opportunity to have a place that they can call home.

"We’ve brought several affordable developments to Somerset already and look forward to working with ENGIE to bring these high-quality and affordable homes to Castle Cary.”

Jo Calvert, strategic housing specialist at South Somerset District Council, said: “The average asking price for a home in South Somerset is now £250,267 according to the NHF’s Home Truths South West, more than ten times the average local salary, while private sector rents are almost a third of local workers’ take home pay.

"Many people, particularly young families who support local services and businesses in the area, are being priced out of their community because housing is simply too expensive.

“We hope that these new affordable homes will go some way to tackling the housing shortage in the area and help more local people find a good quality home close to their friends, family and workplace, at a price they can truly afford.”

Jake Fellows, major projects director for ENGIE’s Places & Communities division, said: “This is a fantastic location and one that will really benefit from much-needed new homes – particularly affordable properties.

"We have worked closely with the architects and Stonewater to offer a sensitive design which will not only attract new residents, but seamlessly blend in with the wider area. We’re excited to start work on this great new development and look forward to working more closely with Stonewater over the coming years.”