The disused brownfield site on Guldrey Lane in Sedbergh, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, had lain empty for more than 17 years. But a unique partnership between Two Castles Housing Association and Esh Property Services, working together with Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council, has brought the site back into community use for the next generation.
Working together under the Hadrian Development Solutions Partnership, Two Castles Housing Association and Esh Property Services have built 10 energy-efficient homes for rent at the regenerated site.
With more than 3000 people currently looking for an affordable home to rent in South Lakeland, the scheme has delivered three, two-bedroom bungalows as well as five, two-bedroom and two three-bedroom houses for local people with a connection to the town or surrounding area.
Rob Brittain, Property Services Director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “There is high demand in the area for affordable housing and the Guldrey Lane development enables us to provide high-quality homes for local people to rent.
“The Sedbergh development helps people, who might otherwise be priced out of the market, to stay in a community and in the place where they were born or have a strong connection to – giving families and individuals the opportunity to live in high-quality housing.
“The housing also brings benefits to the wider community by improving a brownfield site which has stood derelict for a number of years.”
The Guldrey Lane development, which is built to Code Level Three Sustainable Standards, received £250,000 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)’s Affordable Homes Programme, and South Lakeland District Council has contributed £30,000.
Traditional building materials such as slate and stone were used, whilst a number of energy-saving features such as efficient boilers and insulation will help to make the homes even more affordable.
Greg Denwood, Property Services Manager for Two Castles, said: “Each new home at Guldrey Lane has been sensitively designed to complement the local landscape. We worked closely with our partners and the Yorkshire Dales National Park to ensure that all aspects of the build were in keeping with the town and used materials common with the surrounding area.
“The stone that was used on the scheme, for example, is quite individual to Sedbergh. It was salvaged from local farm buildings and reused to clad the facade of the properties, whilst a local craftsman also used the mix of sandstone to construct the exterior garden walls.
“Combining traditional design touches with sustainable features has helped to deliver a unique affordable housing scheme of high-quality properties that will be enjoyed by local individuals and their families, long into the future.”
The HCA estimates that there is around 62,000 hectares of brownfield land in England (based on local authority estimates); 54% of this is estimated to be vacant or derelict.
Councillor David Southward, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Property, said: “The council’s former highways depot in Sedbergh has been empty for many years and we recognised that potential alternative uses for the site were limited because of its sensitive location in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
“The council is well aware of the need for affordable homes locally and we offered the site directly to Two Castles for a social housing development, rather than putting it on the open market. I’m delighted this scheme has now been completed, creating 10 new affordable homes for local people.”
Tony Whittaker, South Lakeland District Council’s Housing Strategy and Delivery Manager, said: “The council welcomes the completion of this new affordable rented housing scheme in Sedbergh.
“Provision of new affordable housing for rent is one of the council’s key priorities and these 10 new homes makes an important contribution to the council’s target of enabling 1000 new affordable homes to rent between 2014 and 2024.
“The council provided a grant of £30,000 to Two Castles to make the development financially viable.”
Two Castles is working with Esh Property Services to deliver cost effective development projects in both the North East and the North West. The Hadrians Development Solution Partnership will deliver 250 new affordable homes to communities by end of March 2015, many in rural areas, utilising £5.2m of funding from the HCA under the Government’s Affordable Home Programme.
Graham Morgan, Divisional Director, of Esh Property Services explained: “These homes in Sedbergh form the third scheme we are delivering in Cumbria for South Lakes District Council in conjunction with Two Castles Housing Association, bringing the total number of new affordable homes for local people to 120.
“As well as the 250 homes being built through the Hadrian Solutions Partnership, Esh Property Services is involved in the wider HCA programme to be completed by March 2015. The total numbers of new homes to be delivered through our part in the HCA programme will be 497.”
Marie Hodgson, Head of Area for Lancashire and Cumbria at the HCA, said: “Providing affordable homes where there is real local need is vitally important to us, so it is great that we have been able to support Two Castles in bringing this brownfield land back into productive use.”