modified from Barry Cooper’s EDC Press release by Charles Paxton
“provision of affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing the District”
Councillor Michael Slee, Chairman of EDC’s Planning Applications Committee
“Location, location, location!” Eden District Council’s Planning Applications Committee (PAC) embarked on a tour of completed development last Friday to see how the quality and design of developments in Eden District is helping to enhance and sustain the area.
The developments the PAC visited included:
- A slurry lagoon at South Dyke Farm, Salkeld Dykes
- A wind turbine at Barrockside Farm, Carleton
- Units at the Castle Retail Park, Penrith
- Housing developments at Clifton, Crosby Ravensworth and Kirkby Stephen.
PAC determines the most controversial and significant planning applications, ranging from housing development and industrial sites to building conversions and extensions. The quality of development being approved in the District is also helping to create and sustain jobs in the local economy and supply much needed housing.
According to EDC, research from the CBI shows that every £1 spent in the construction industry generates a £2.84 multiplier of additional benefit for the UK’s economy. In Eden District 16.7% of men are employed in construction, compared to 12.8% nationally. It is the biggest source of employment for men compared to other sectors.
The PAC team covered a lot of ground on their tour, but their visit to Crosby Ravensworth didn’t seem at all rushed.
Affordable housing need has featured prominently in the news recently and it is developments like Crosby Ravensworth’s Stoneworks Garth community led affordable housing project, Kirkby Stephen’s and Clifton’s social housing that offer hope to people looking for affordable local housing in Eden while producing the valuable chain of economic benefit. The mood was light, but the Planner’s visit was intelligently focused, with plenty of poignant questions and answers. Some homes at Stoneworks Garth are faced in local buff sandstone, others with render, the porches help unify the development. Another unifying factor at Stoneworks Garth is the environmentally friendly heating.
Renewable heating in each home distinguishes this development. With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s announcement this week that anthropogenic influence on climate change is an undeniable reality, the heating systems in this affordable housing project render it exemplary. When one planner wondered “Where are the chimneys?” David Graham, Chair of the local community land trust explained,”These are modern homes, there are no coal fires, so they don’t need chimneys.” Coupled with good insulation, the air-source heat pumps provide comfortable, clean modern heating efficiency. The self-builds here are eco-friendly too with solar thermal and solar photovoltaic panels and biomas heating. Very fitting, set as they are, in the beautiful Lyvennet Valley countryside.
Such housing, within easy walking distance of the Primary school, Community pub, Village Hall and Parish Church affording a great start for young families but also a useful opportunity for mature people needing to downsize and remain in the area that they love.
Of the tour, Councillor Michael Slee, Chairman of the PAC said: “It is very important for committee members to have a good knowledge about the quality and types of development that are taking place in the District. We also need to garner people’s views about these developments and recognise the important role planning plays in promoting good quality design and sustaining the local economy. This tour gave members the chance to visit a variety of different types of development from new housing and retail premises, to wind turbines and a slurry lagoon.
“We had the opportunity to view an affordable home that is nearing completion at a Story Homes’ development at Kirkby Stephen. This will be of particular interest to the committee as the provision of affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing the District. We also spoke with representatives from parish councillors on the tour, so they could feedback the views of the local community about the developments we visited.”
In the last full year Eden District Council granted approval for 207 new homes to be built in the District, this includes 34 affordable homes. Story Homes are building 106 new homes at developments at Birkbeck Gardens, Kirkby Stephen and Clifton Hill Gardens, near Penrith.
A local young person who has purchased one of the market led houses at the Story Homes site at Kirkby Stephen said: “This development gave me and many other young people the opportunity to buy a first home in and around the area that we were raised, the existing stock on the market in the smaller villages and towns in Eden is not within a realistic price range for a first time buyer. It’s great to see how quickly the houses are being snapped up by young local people and this shows an obvious need.”
A spokesperson for Story Homes said: “Demand on the developments in Clifton and Kirkby Stephen has been high and we have recruited local staff and sub contractors to help us deliver these much needed homes and our quality product, which is sensitive to the surroundings. We have a reputation for providing high quality private houses and we are proud that we can retain this quality in our social housing. Both developments complement and enhance the sustainable credentials of these key and local service centres, whilst delivering much needed open market and affordable housing within the Eden District.”
For more information about the local young families benefitting from the new housing at Birkbeck Gardens visit www.storyhomes.co.uk/customer-comment/mr-bainbridge
The affordable housing at Birkbeck Gardens and Clifton Hill Gardens are being managed by Riverside Housing. Riverside’s Project Manager, Becci Kenvyn said: “These properties offer much needed affordable housing for rent by local people. The two schemes address housing need by offering a mix of bungalows and houses. The provision of homes for Shared Ownership at the Kirkby Stephen site, offer a fantastic opportunity for local first time buyers to get on the housing ladder in an area that would have otherwise been unaffordable.”
For more information about Eden District Council visit www.eden.gov.uk or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.