rory chairs community affordable housing event
Rory has welcomed the significant level of interest among Eden parishes for community-led affordable housing schemes, following an event he chaired in Crosby Ravensworth to showcase the 12 affordable houses, built and owned by the local community.
Following the official opening of the Stoneworks Garth site by the MP back in October last year, Rory subsequently wrote to all local parish councils asking any with an interest in local affordable housing to attend the event in order to see for themselves what Crosby Ravensworth had accomplished. Much of the MP’s enthusiasm for this model has stemmed from the centrality of the local community in the decision-making process. By setting up Lyvennet Community Trust, Crosby Ravensworth community put itself in control of decisions about the site, size and style of their affordable housing development, and critically ensured an allocation policy that prioritised individuals and families local to the area who could not otherwise afford market value rates.
In attendance were representatives from Lazonby, Brough, Rockcliffe, Morland, Temple Sowerby, Barton, Pooley Bridge, Warcop, Bampton, Great Asby and Culgaith. Each community had a different reason for attending, different local housing needs, and each were at different stages in their respective local affordable housing projects. All who attended however, had the chance to listen and discuss their ideas and concerns with the Chairman of Lyvennet Community Trust, David Graham, the CLT officer from Cumbria Rural Housing Trust, Andy Lloyd, as well as representatives from the Housing and Communities Agency (HCA) – the Key Government organisation involved in the allocation of funds for projects of this nature. The event included a tour of the Stoneworks Garth site, to showcase the traditional build and style of the properties, as well as some of the innovative features which ensure the properties are as affordable to live in as they are to rent. Each property for example has an air source heat pump which currently means heating and electricity bills of only £10 per week for most residents – a cost unimaginable to many other households in Cumbria.
Following the event, community representatives will now report back to their respective parishes, where it is hoped several may now find themselves in a better position, to build on what they learned over the afternoon and advance their own housing projects.
“Crosby Ravensworth has proved magnificently what can be achieved when the local community is able to take control of its own locality. It has shown it is possible to build affordable houses without alienating local residents, and it has shown that the end result is more than just the bricks and mortar, built around a village green. The mere act of community engagement can be a very uplifting and rewarding thing, and the sense of community in the village is incredibly tangible.
This dynamism, energy and community spirit is by no means unique to Crosby Ravensworth however. Indeed I see it time and again in nearly every local community I visit. That is why it was fantastic to see such a range of parishes present at today’s event, and why – if they decide to replicate this model – I am confident they can achieve the same great results. We cannot find ourselves in a position where local families can no longer afford to live in the communities in which they grew up, and I will now follow up with every community that attended to see if I can in anyway help ensure the replication of this model across Cumbria.”