rory takes affordable housing on the road

Rory attended Culgaith Parish Council’s most recent council meeting to better understand the local community’s potential interest for local affordable housing.

Rory recently wrote to all the parish councils within his constituency asking them to get in touch if they felt affordable housing was something their community was interested in and keen to learn more about. Culgaith was one of the first to respond, having identified the importance of affordable housing in their Community Led Plan and Housing Needs Survey. A Parish Council meeting therefore offered the perfect opportunity to learn more and Andy Lloyd from Cumbria Rural Housing Trust was invited to talk to local residents, answering their questions and explaining how they could potentially take control of their own affordable housing project.

Much of Rory’s drive to engage other local communities follows the recent success of an affordable housing project in Crosby Ravensworth which now provides a model for others to replicate. Residents of Crosby Ravensworth were keen for affordable housing to ensure local families could continue to live in a community whose average house price is £315 000. They were unhappy however with the suggestions put forward by Housing Associations and the District Council, so decided to take on the project themselves. By setting up a Community Land Trust, Crosby Ravensworth was able to take complete control of the decision-making process, from the number and size of the houses, to the houses’ design, to the business plan they would use to ensure the project was financially viable. The end result was twelve affordable houses – each with a local occupancy clause – that remained very much in keeping with the aesthetic of the village.

Speaking on the subject, Rory stated: “I have now had positive feedback and interest from several parish councils on the issue of affordable housing which is fantastic news. I hope that these communities can follow Culgaith’s initiative and take that initial, tentative step to learn more about the options now available to them. It is easy to feel to feel that projects of this nature are the responsibility of Housing Associations or District Councils, but there is no reason this should be the case. There is now a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge to draw upon for future projects, and I urge anyone uncertain of how to move forward to get in touch. By creating a model which puts the local community in control above anyone else, keeping local families in our communities need not come at the expense of a village’s character, as many might otherwise fear.”

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