Couple stay close to home thanks to Two Castles’ affordable housing

A new £2.6 million affordable housing scheme in South Lakeland has meant a young couple can stay in the village that has been home to many previous generations of their families.

Teacher Emily Cannon, 23, and her partner Chris Raven, 24, a farmer, were both born in Staveley and have lived there all their lives, as have their parents and grandparents. Faced with spiralling private rental costs, the couple feared they may have to move away from the village and their families to be able to afford a home with the extra space that they needed.

Emily, who works as a teacher in Flookburgh, said:

“We were renting privately but were desperate for a place we could settle down in with a little extra space. We thought we were going to have to move away from our families, which we didn’t want to do, because there was nowhere in the village that we could afford to rent privately.”

“When we saw the new Two Castles homes advertised we decided to apply and we’re so pleased we did. We now have a two-bedroomed home that is within our budget with much more space than we had before, as well as a garden.”

“My partner is a farmer and has a sheepdog, so having the outdoor space makes all the difference. We just couldn’t have afforded this size and quality of property if we had continued to rent privately. We’ve been in our new home for a couple of months now and couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out.”

The couple’s home is one of 18 new affordable homes built by Two Castles, working with local developer Russell Armer Homes. The new homes are built using materials in keeping with the local area and each is constructed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 Standards, including a number of energy-efficient features to help keep residents’ energy bills as low as possible.

The development received a £412,200 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and includes 11 two-bedroom homes, four three-bedroom homes, as well as two two-bedroom homes, as well one four-bedroom home.

All 18 homes in the development have been let to people in housing need with a connection to the village, which is situated between Windermere and Kendal, or its surrounding area.

Rob Brittain, property services director at Two Castles Housing Association, said:

“We’re delighted that Emily and Chris are enjoying their new home and that our development has meant they’re able to stay close to their families in the village that they call home.”

“Too many people are being forced to move away from the villages they grew up in because of being priced out of the market or by second home ownership. By working with partners in rural areas such as Staveley we are providing vital homes local people, helping to create a sustainable future for the area.”

“In Rural Housing week it’s important to remember how just a small number of affordable homes can benefit the whole community, helping to sustain local businesses and services.”

Other recently completed Two Castles’ developments in the North West include 27 new homes in Kendal and 10 new homes in Guldrey Lane, Sedbergh. Meanwhile, work continues on site for 43 new homes at Berners Close in Grange-over-Sands. There are also a further 32 new affordable homes planned to go on site during 2015/16 in South Lakeland to help tackle the housing crisis.

Martyn Nicholson, Managing Director Russell Armer Homes, said:

“It has been immensely satisfying for our team and myself to see this project through from locating the land to handing over the keys to local residents in need of a home.”

Councillor Heidi Halliday, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for Housing and Strategic Growth, said:

“Providing more affordable homes is a key council priority and we have a commitment to enable 1,000 new affordable homes for rent in South Lakeland by 2025.”

“Our latest Quality of Life survey results show that affordable decent housing is one of the most important factors for South Lakeland residents in making somewhere a good place to live and Emily and Chris’ story shows why this policy is so important.”

“We need to retain young people in South Lakeland and to achieve that we have to help create somewhere they can afford to live. That is why we are working with partners including housing associations such as Two Castles and private housing developers to ensure more local people get the chance to continue to live and work here.”