An affordable housing scheme in Solva, the first of its kind in Wales, has been lauded as 'a hugely exciting project' which will ensure the local community remains robust.

Solva Community Land Trust (CLT), working in partnership with Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC) and local social housing provider, ateb, will build 18 houses on part of Solva playing fields, delivering affordable rental accommodation.

The project if financed by PCC's second homes tax.

The CLT's board has recently conducted interviews with a number of architecture firms and will be confirming the preferred practice in the coming weeks.

The community will play a key part in shaping a shared vision for the project, through community engagement with the architects and key stakeholders.

The houses are scheduled to be built in the latter half of this year.

"Now more than ever our communities must be resilient to the external pressures of both the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing Brexit transition," said Joshua Phillips chair of Solva CLT.

"We see this development as key to ensuring our community is able to be robust as possible, safeguarding affordable housing and providing accommodation for those in direst need within our community."

Solva CLT has worked hard throughout the pandemic to ensure that momentum for the project is not lost and said it was heartened to hear that the most recent negotiations around the lease and grant draw down are almost agreed.

"This demonstrates PCC's proactive approach to the issue of social housing and their support of Wales' first Community Land Trust is to be commended as both aspirational and dynamic," said Mr Phillips.

"We as a CLT hope that this will inspire similar projects across the county, firmly establishing community led housing as a sustainable and successful model for future generations, safeguarding housing stocks and bolstering community strength and cohesion.

"he continued support of PCC demonstrates its commitment to community housing and a shared vision to build back better. To establish new opportunities in rural communities and to combat the drain of local people away from the area due to lack of affordable rents, high second homes numbers and vacant/dormant properties. "

"There is an opportunity to deliver something that can truly benefit the local community. We look forward to working alongside Ateb and PCC to deliver housing fit for the 21st century, that is both affordable and environmentally friendly."

He thanked the trust's partners at Pembrokeshire County Council and Ateb, as well as Jo Rees-Wigmore at Planed for her support and guidance throughout the project.

"Solva Community Land Trust is a hugely exciting project which will not only have a positive impact on the community, but will also show that there are different, innovative ways of doing things, bringing a range of benefits, possibilities and hope," said Cllr Michelle Bateman, cabinet member for housing.

"We are very much looking forward to witnessing the continuing progress of the scheme."

The minister for housing and local government, Julie James added:

"It is very encouraging to see Pembrokeshire County Council reinvesting its second homes tax to support communities to develop the affordable homes they need in Solva. I remain committed to supporting the development of all types of community-led housing in Wales.

"Affordable housing is a real benefit to communities across Wales and it is fantastic to see schemes like this enable communities to take more control of how their housing is delivered and managed."