14th March 2016
Former shop becomes homes for Penrith residents
Created from a former shop in Penrith, Eden Housing Association is celebrating the launch of four new apartments which in turn, have freed up much needed family homes elsewhere in the town.
The shop on the Pategill estate in Penrith had been vacant for some time, despite great effort from the local community and Eden Housing Association to try and find someone to take on the business. With a constant shortage of homes in the district, Eden Housing Association following consultation in the local community decided to convert the shop into four one bedroomed apartments.
In 2015 Eden Housing Association successfully bid for a loan from Eden District Council’s Affordable Housing and Innovation Fund (AHIF). The emerging opportunity to convert the shop building at Pategill, met the local authorities’ criteria and as a result over £135,000 funding for the design and works involved was approved and a successful collaboration resulted.
At a cost of £242, 876, the property took 21 weeks to renovate from a shop to four homes, with tenants moving in December.
Creating these new homes has a number of benefits, it gives a new purpose to an unused building, reduces the risk of anti-social behaviour, and most importantly, has freed up family homes for other residents in Eden.
Three of the new residents have moved from three bedroom family homes into the apartments, it means larger families can make best use of a family home and the new Lonsdale Court tenants have downsized, reducing running costs and the 25% bedroom tax they were facing. One of these tenants is Miss Lucas (pictured) who was looking to downsize to a ground floor property. Transferring from a larger family home, Miss Lucas was also able to qualify for the Eden Housing Association ‘Incentive to Move’ grant which helps with reasonable moving expenses.
Others moving to the new homes include Mr Cunningham who was previously living with family, they were soon to move and this gave Mr Cunningham the opportunity to become independent in his own home.
John Clasper, Managing Director at Eden Housing Association said “Working in collaboration with Eden District Council we have been able to convert the shop into homes. The empty premises was beginning to attract some anti-social behaviour and the investment in this housing scheme has enabled this to be overcome and a much nicer appearance and environment to be re-established. Letting these homes has also resulted in better use of our stock all round and it is good to see that a couple of our tenants have been able to downsize, releasing larger houses nearby that have been allocated to families in need. ”
Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder, Councillor Lesley Grisedale, said: “The Council through the £1 million Affordable Housing and Innovation Fund (AHIF) is delighted to have supported Eden Housing Association with a loan to develop the creation of these apartments at the former Pategill store in Penrith.
“It is great to see people occupying these new apartments and the money the Council continues to invest in affordable housing innovation schemes is coming to fruition and helping to meet local housing need.”
During 2016, Eden Housing Association plans to develop 20 affordable homes in the area, including properties in Penrith and Threlkeld.
For details of housing developments at Eden Housing Association, call 01768 861400 or visit www.edenha.org.uk
Pictures: John Clasper, MD Eden Housing Association meets new Pategill tenant Miss Lucas with Councillor Lesley Grisedale, Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Housing and Health Portfolio Holder
Notes to the editor:
Eden Housing Association was established in 1997 following the voluntary transfer of housing stock from Eden District Council. Operating chiefly across North Cumbria they own/manage around 1,982 homes for affordable rent or sale, and act as Managing Agents for Mitre Housing Association, Allonby Alms-houses, and Lyvennet Community Trust.
EDC – The £1million AHIF was established in September 2014. Bids to the Fund are scrutinised by a sub-group of the Eden Housing board, including the Council’s Housing Portfolio Holder. AHIF places the Council in a strong position to guide and influence the delivery of affordable housing in the area. Loan repayments from the finance provided to housing associations are re-invested in the Fund.