Jun 27, 2017 Last Updated 3:06 PM, Jun 22, 2017

Two Castles helps to address housing shortfall

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Two new South Lakeland housing developments have welcomed their first residents, giving local families the opportunity to stay in their community and helping ease the current demand for housing.

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Two Castles Housing Association has completed work on a £2.2m development of 14 new affordable homes in Burland Grove, Kendal, and another two affordable homes on Westwood Avenue, also in the town.

The developments, which were completed in April and May respectively, were in demand with local families and have all already been allocated to people with an existing connection to Kendal.

The new Burland Grove homes, situated in Rinkfield, comprise eight two-bedroom houses and six three-bedroom homes, while the Westwood Avenue homes are both one-bedroom flats.

Rob Brittain, Property Services Director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “We’re delighted that all of our new homes in Kendal have already been allocated to residents so quickly after completion, proving just how vital our affordable homes are.

“The combination of high private rental costs and above-average levels of second home ownership means there is a real shortage of affordable homes across South Lakeland and our new homes will go some way to addressing this shortfall.

“Looking ahead, with demand remaining high as families struggle to stay in the communities they call home, we will continue to work hard with partners to address the shortfall in housing, focusing our efforts on the communities that need it most.”

Meeting demand

Working with partners, Two Castles Housing Association has built 104 homes in 2016 across Cumbria in areas where demand is at its highest. All of these homes have been either sold under shared ownership agreements or let at affordable rents, providing a vital supply of affordable housing at a time when many people are finding themselves priced out of the market.

According to recent figures released by the National Housing Federation (NHF), even the average ‘affordable’ property in parts of the North West would cost more than eight times the salary of local residents. In South Lakeland, for example, the average affordable home costs £148,950 – that’s 8.2 times the £17,950 average full-time income of residents.

The new homes in Burland Grove were developed in partnership with South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), which provided the land and £250,000 towards building costs, and Esh Property Services. In Westwood Avenue, Two Castles partnered with developer Russell Armer.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Innovation at SLDC, said: “SLDC has a long-standing commitment to enable the delivery of 1000 affordable new homes to rent across the district by 2025.

“These 16 wonderful new homes will help us to keep on track to meet this ambitious target. More importantly, 16 local families are now living in decent, modern affordable homes, right here in South Lakeland.

“That’s exactly what our policies are designed to achieve, local affordable homes for local people. We are doubly delighted to work wherever possible with Cumbrian partners to achieve these objectives and we look forward to the delivery of more of these types of excellent affordable homes over the next few years.”

Esh Border Construction’s Operations Director, Steve Beattie, said: “It’s always pleasing to see the introduction of essential affordable homes to the South Lakeland market, helping to ease local demand in rural areas of acute need. We are proud to have played a key role in the delivery of Kendal’s newest developments at Burland Grove and Westwood Avenue.

“We believe that they will provide lasting value, but more importantly, attractive, high-quality, sustainable places to live. That the 16 homes have already been allocated in their entirety tells us that the community wholeheartedly agrees.

“As a company, we have a strong onus on providing family homes that allow residents to stay in their communities, and these properties will do exactly that.”

Martyn Nicholson, Managing Director of Russell Armer Homes, said: “We are pleased to work with Two Castles to provide another two much-needed affordable homes in South Lakeland.”

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