Innovative projects set to create more affordable homes

Last Updated: 15 March 2022

15 March 2022

Two innovative projects aimed at delivering more affordable homes have been approved by South Lakeland District Council.

The schemes will support SLDC’s ongoing work enabling the delivery of 1,000 homes for rent in the district between 2014 and 2025.

Cabinet members agreed to progress plans to buy a site in Heversham which could provide an opportunity to deliver an exemplar in energy efficient affordable housing.

Money from capital receipts from Right to Buy sales will now be used to buy the site, which already has planning permission for six houses (two affordable houses and four at market value).

A feasibility study will be carried out on the site to determine the viability of it having 100 per cent affordable houses, with possible changes to the number of units and configuration of the site.

When the study has been completed a further report will be brought back to Cabinet for approval regarding the number of houses the site can accommodate, the number of affordable units to be built and energy efficiency proposals for each unit.

Council Leader, Councillor Jonathan Brook, said: “It is an aspiration of this council to deliver affordable homes, wherever we can, particularly in rural communities. There is a clear need for affordable housing in Heversham and in this case, we are able to intervene directly, to deliver new, energy efficient homes. Our ambition is to ensure that these houses are built with sustainable eco-measures at their heart, making them energy efficient and avoiding the expense and inconvenience of retro-fitting at a later stage.

“This small development will provide a new, exciting approach, to environmentally sustainable housebuilding locally.”

Cabinet also approved in principle a plan to release Langstone House in Broad Street, Windermere for affordable housing.

The building is owned by SLDC but has been declared surplus to requirements.

Windermere and Bowness Town Council has “statutory user rights” to use the building but has agreed in principle to relinquish those rights – dependent on further detailed discussions and agreement – in return for a new base for them being developed in the nearby Ellerthwaite depot, which is also surplus to SLDC requirements. Members were told that £90,000 had been earmarked for the depot development.

A feasibility study of Langstone House is now planned with a view to creating affordable housing on the site either through reconfiguration of the existing premise or redevelopment of the site, with a further report to be brought back for Cabinet approval.

Councillor Suzie Pye, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation, said: “I am very pleased that this will create more affordable housing in South Lakeland while at the same time creating a better space for the town council.”

Background

The provision of more affordable homes is a key target to meet local needs, especially for young families in the district.

Through its land allocations, South Lakeland District Council identifies sites for new housing, with the normal requirement that 35 per cent of any new development will be made up of affordable homes.

Since the 1,000 target was set in 2014, new affordable homes for rent have been built across South Lakeland, including on developments in Ambleside, Kendal, Coniston, Grange, Staveley, Ulverston and Kirkby Lonsdale. By the end of 2021, 554 had been delivered.

While the pandemic has impacted on delivery of affordable homes as construction work was paused during the first lockdown and there have been issues with the supply of some materials, there are currently 15 large housing schemes under construction in South Lakeland, which will deliver another 400 affordable homes for rent and sale

The council currently holds £5.47m of capital receipts from Right To Buy sales – when tenants of housing associations retain their Right to Buy when their home is transferred to a housing association from a local authority.

SLDC ring-fences that money to provide affordable housing grants for registered social housing providers, and acquire land for the delivery of affordable housing.