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House builder's first ever customer is first to move into its latest home

‘Coming Home’ for former RAF man 53 years after being posted to Watton

A couple who were the first-ever customer of a Norfolk house builder 16 years ago have become the first to move into a development of 46 highly energy-efficient new homes in Watton built by the same firm.

And for Mel Richmond and his wife Anne, it really is a case of coming home – because the retired missile engineer was posted to RAF Watton over 50 years ago.

The couple bought the first-ever new home built by local family-owned housebuilder Abel Homes in 1996 – a four-bedroom house in Hingham.  So when they decided to downsize after their family flew the nest, there was really only one place they were going to look.

Mr and Mrs Richmond moved into a three-bedroom semi-detached house on Abel Homes’ hus46 development in Watton yesterday (Monday 25th June).  They are the first occupants of Shire Horse Way, named because the new homes are being built on the site of the former Abels shire-horse stables on the town’s Norwich Road.  The couple were welcomed into their new home by Abel Homes managing director Tony Abel who said ‘This is a special day - and the finishing touch is that our customers are being moved into their new home by our good friends and neighbours Hadley & Ottaway Ltd. That gives me peace of mind; I know they’ll be careful’.

The couple chose hus46 because they liked their first Abel home so much, and because of the energy-efficient features incorporated into the new homes at Watton.

“When we were looking to downsize, we had a look at what Abel Homes was building, and were attracted by the eco-features on these hew homes,” said Mrs Richmond, a retired library assistant.  “It’s a very attractive feature – and one which not many builders seem to be incorporating.”

For Mr Richmond, it really is a case of ‘coming home’, as he was the first member of the RAF’s 24 Surface to Air Guided Weapons (SAGW) Wing to be stationed at RAF Watton, in 1959.  At the time the station was home to Lincoln, Canberra and Varsity bombers, as well as Meteor combat aircraft.

The 46 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes at hus46 have been designed to be as energy-efficient as practicable, with solar photovoltaic panels fitted to each house, triple glazing, as well as LED down-lighters and high levels of insulation.  The new houses feature an innovative design which has taken its cue from an award-winning Conran-designed development in Norwich also built by Abel Homes. 

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