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Homes on the roof

We have planning consent to build 15 new low-carbon, affordable eco homes on the roof of our city centre office.

By utilising free land – the air space – on the roof of our charity’s office and retail space at Backfields House, Emmaus Bristol is hoping to create a new rooftop community. This will include 11 one-bedroom two storey homes, 3 two-bedroom single storey homes, 1 one-bedroom single story home, and food growing and shared amenity space.

The main motivation behind the initiative is to provide affordable homes for people who are ready to move out of our supported housing, as Chief Executive, Jessica Hodge, explains:

“We offer more than just a bed for the night. When someone joins our Emmaus Bristol community, they work full-time in our shops to gain new skills and build up their CV, and receive daily support, mentoring and training so they can rebuild their life. There is no time limit on the support we provide, and people can stay with us for as long as they need, whether that is a few months or years.”

Rooftop

“The aim of our rooftop development is to give people the option to live independently when they are ready to, but still keep them connected to Emmaus Bristol and the support we can provide.”

Paul Smith visit

“Some of the people we support eventually and understandably want their own home and their own independence, but then struggle to find affordable rented homes to move into or meet significant barriers to private rented accommodation such as cost, competition, credit ratings and references. The aim of our rooftop development is to give people the option to live independently when they are ready to, but still keep them connected to Emmaus Bristol and the support we can provide if they need it.”

Affordable Rented Homes

At least 50% of the homes will be for rent at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, with the rest available at market rents.

The homes will be available to people moving on from Emmaus as well as others, some through referrals and some through the open market. Each home will have its own private space but will be well connected to a shared landscaped courtyard and rooftop garden allotment for both communal and private use by residents.

The layout and design, developed by Agile Homes, aims to make the most out of Emmaus Bristol’s current land resource and will have a light carbon footprint, making them cheap to run with energy use up to 90% lower than a conventionally built home.


A Low Carbon Community

Craig White, CEO at Agile Homes, said:
“Working with Emmaus Bristol, we are pleased to have come up with a unique way to deliver low-carbon, affordable homes. Unlocking a land supply hidden in plain sight, in the heart of the City, on the rooftop of Backfields House, means we will be helping a new community come together in a place that will be beautiful, affordable and resilient.”

“Unlocking a land supply hidden in plain sight, in the heart of the City, on the rooftop of Backfields House, means we will be helping a new community come together.”

Engagement with current residents at the Emmaus Bristol community throughout the design process has been vital for the charity to determine what people would want when moving on to independent living. Responses guided the design of the development to include having a sense of community whilst also being independent, not feeling isolated, and having the option to join in with the Emmaus Bristol community if needed.


Planning Consent

While we have planning consent, we are a long way from being ready to build. There’s masses of detail to work out and of course money to raise before we can start.

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The planning application (Ref: 20/05805/F) for the rooftop community at Emmaus Bristol can be seen here: