12th July 2016
This week (11-17th July) is Rural Housing Week. Eden Housing Association (EHA) is using the week as a platform to shine the spotlight on new affordable rural homes in Appleby. Two of seven new homes have just been released to local working families.
Rural Housing Week is focusing on issues of affordable homes and aspirations for a living, working countryside. John Clasper Managing Director at EHA said “National census figures highlight that more than 1 in 5 of England’s population live in rural areas. Eden District is the least populated district in England, with just 25 people per sq. km – that makes us entirely rural. Support for rural communities has never been more important.
“There is evidence that people are choosing to move way from rural areas because of the shortage of affordable rural homes and the cost of living there. We need new affordable rented homes right across our district. According to statistics, in some rural areas, only 1/5th of the homes needed have been built in the last 5 years*.”
New housing in market towns and villages is vital for the survival of rural communities and services. Not only are housing associations helping local people to continue to live in the same area as their friends and family, they are also helping to preserve the economic viability of rural communities, by ensuring continued demand for key services such as shops, schools, post offices and pubs.
Appleby’s new ‘Orchard Place’ development from Story Homes is a mixed scheme of 142 dwellings, nineteen of which are designated as ‘affordable homes’ shared between Eden Housing and Two Castles Housing Associations. Eden Housing Association has seven of these properties; a mix of two and three bedroomed homes being offered in three phases.
Two local families have just moved in to the first two homes which have two bedrooms, a garden and off street parking. The affordable homes are intermingled throughout the new development to help create a strong community feel.
Thomas and Kim Airey, their 12 year old son TJ and sheepdog Nell moved to their new home just three weeks ago. Kim said “It’s like a dream come true. It’s everything I could have wanted and I already feel it’s my forever home.”
Kim works as a nursery nurse and Tom is a self-employed stonemason. In the past they’ve looked at buying a home, but because Tom is self-employed, getting a mortgage was difficult.
“We’ve been living in private rented properties in and around Appleby for years, but they never feel like your own home. The rents are high and the quality is not always great. It’s also not easy when you have a family pet. We have tried for other properties before and I’ve been watching the Orchard Place progress since the development began, so I was very quick to bid for one when they came on the Choice Based Letting system.”
The bid response was stronger than normal for a home in Appleby, mainly because it is a new build that’s part of a mixed development. There was a local occupancy clause on the homes, which meant local families were priority. Both homes have been let to local families who work in Appleby area.
Tom Airey said “It’s a great move for us and we already feel part of the community. TJ has made new friends on the estate already and I’ve been playing darts and dominoes at the Royal Oak for over a year, so it’s now just a quick walk from home. We feel very settled and very lucky and are looking forward to the rest of the development filling up.”
The next phase of EHA’s affordable housing in Appleby is the release of two more two bedroomed homes in early August, with two three bedroomed homes being offered at the end of August. Anyone interested in applying for the new homes should keep reviewing the Cumbria Choice Based Lettings website www.cumbriachoice.org.uk
John Clasper MD at EHA attended the Rural Housing Conference this week and has also been asked to write a blog which will include the new Appleby development and the difficulties and practicalities of providing services in a rural area. #ruralhousingweek.
For more info or more images contact Tracey Errington on 01768 895 964 or 07799 640 290 or email [email protected]