Community Solution for Affordable Homes in Kendal
3rd February 2021
Community Led Housing projects are a practical approach to tackling local housing challenges. The Community Led Housing Hub for Cumbria and Lancaster (hosted by ACTion with Communities in Cumbria) supports communities at every step of the way by linking with Local Authorities and housing experts who can help. Residents in South Lakeland district have been benefitting from the Festival of Community Led Housing - a series of events exploring the motivations of all partners and workshops to move groups forward through practical advice.
In Kendal a new group, Kendal Community Land Trust (CLT) is forming with support from the Hub and South Lakeland District Council Community Led Homes Fund. This group aims to create additional, genuinely affordable housing in the town, built or renovated to a high eco standard.
“We are at a very early stage, but as a group we recognise that something different needs to happen here,” says group member and local Town and District Councillor, Helen Ladhams. “South Lakeland is an expensive place to live and wages are often very low and insecure, particularly with the economic stress of the pandemic. This puts market housing and even affordable housing out of the reach of many people who work here. Our vision is to create affordable, ultra low-carbon homes with shared outdoor spaces and rooms which exceed the national space standards in the Kendal area.” A key principle of all Community Led Housing is that these homes are not subject to the right to buy. They stay affordable, forever.
Beki Winter, a founder member of the group, is working with Kendal Town Council and in initial discussions with South Lakes Housing about where and how this might work. Kendal CLT are drawing from experience nearby; Lune Valley CLT in Halton, Lancaster has recently secured planning permission for 20 Passivhaus standard homes and is moving towards the build stage in partnership with South Lakes Housing. Beki says “Passivhaus standard is a high airtightness benchmark which means that heating costs are low – a really important consideration for people on low incomes. By replicating what is planned in Halton we will have locally affordable housing which costs very little to heat and which people are secure in. One of the main benefits of the CLT model is that the property cannot be lost to the private market, so there will always be a supply of affordable homes here.”
Fran Richardson, Community Led Housing Hub Manager, says “It is a joy to see a new group coming on with such energy and commitment. I think our CLH Festival has landed at just the right time for this group and we have seen them at events to discuss older people’s housing needs, writing a business plan and housing as an important part of sustainable communities. I look forward to working with them over the next months as their ideas take shape and they explore local sites and partnerships.”