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18 March 2016

TWO CASTLES FORMS PIONEERING AFFORDABLE HOMES PARTNERSHIP

Skelwith Land Trust and Two Castles Housing

Skelwith Land Trust and Two Castles Housing

A pioneering partnership between a social housing provider and Community Land Trust will see four new homes created in a Lake District village where there is high demand for affordable housing.

Two Castles Housing Association has worked with Skelwith and Langdale Community Land Trust (SLCLT), a not-for-profit company formed to provide affordable housing that benefits the community, to design the new homes in Skelwith Bridge, near Ambleside.

The three three-bedroom homes and one two-bedroom home in the village, which have all been granted planning consent, mark the first time Two Castles has worked in partnership with a community interest company. Work is due to start in spring 2016, with completion scheduled for the end of the year.

After identifying a need for housing in the village and a suitable site, SLCLT approached Two Castles to provide the new affordable homes. Two Castles then worked closely with SLCLT throughout the design process to ensure the finished homes meet the needs of future residents. To ensure energy bills are kept to a minimum, all of the properties will include air source heat pumps and wood-burning stoves.

The new homes, which will see people with an existing connection to the village given priority, will be the first affordable housing built in Skelwith Bridge for decades. The development has been granted £140,000 funding from the Homes and Communities Agency as well as £79,000 from South Lakeland District Council.

Because the land and properties will be owned by the SLCLT, the community-owned homes will continue to provide vital affordable housing for the people of the village for generations to come.

Rob Brittain, property services director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “Communities are at the heart of everything we do, and working with Skelwith and Langdale Community Land Trust in this pioneering project has allowed us more than ever to put the needs of a community truly at the heart of our development work.
“Working with the Trust has been an enjoyable process and, once complete, these new homes will allow local families to remain in the community they call home in affordable, high quality housing perfectly suited to their needs.”

Gordon Baddely, Chairman of Skelwith and Langdale Community Land Trust, said: “We are all aware of the special problems relating to affordable homes in the Lake District. Communities are struggling because local people, and people who work in the area, cannot afford the prices asked for the relatively few properties available.

“Our work with Two Castles Housing Association is an attempt to make at least some homes available to families who want to live within the Skelwith and Langdale community. They and their children will help to bring life and vitality back to our valleys.”

Ambleside & Grasmere Councillor Heidi Halliday, housing and strategic development portfolio holder, said: “This is a fantastic example of a Housing Association and a Community Land Trust working in partnership and helping a rural community meet their affordable housing needs. These homes are going to enable local families to stay within their community and help sustain that community.”