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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Grange swimming pool to be turned into affordable housing

Work to turn a former swimming pool in Grange into 43 homes has started.

The £6 million project will target more than 3,000 people who are looking for affordable homes to rent in South Lakeland.

The Two Castles Housing Association and Esh Property Services scheme will see the transformation of former Berners Indoor Pool site, off Berners Close, Grange.

The energy-efficient scheme is due for completion in spring 2015 and is available for people with a connection to the town and surrounding area.

It will include 43 houses and flats of which 32 are available for affordable rent and 11 available under a shared ownership arrangement.

Rob Brittain, property services director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “While thousands of South Lakeland residents and their families remain on the housing waiting list, there is an ever pressing need to build quality affordable homes in towns like Grange-over-Sands.

“We are delighted that this particular scheme will regenerate a former brownfield site for the benefit of the local area. “Not only will the development help to create local jobs in construction, it will also be a sustainable home for the future - keeping energy costs down for tenants.

“Working closely with our partners, the local community and the Berners Grange Town project group has played an integral part in helping to shape what will be a scheme to be proud of, once complete.

“There has been a lot of hard work, commitment and drive by all involved to make this happen.”

Each property will be built to reflect the character of the wider conservation area using traditional building materials such as natural slate, stone elevations and a timber frame.

Each property includes a range of energy-efficient features to help make homes more affordable.

Graham Morgan, divisional director, Esh Property Services said: “From the beginning, this scheme has benefitted from tremendous input from the Berners Grange Project Group which represents the wishes of the community.

“We’ve worked very closely with the Group and together led a successful collaboration between all parties; South Lakeland District Council, Grange Town Council, Two Castles, the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), statutory services’ providers and the architects and engineers advising all parties.

“This open-minded, partnering approach has resulted in plans being prepared and approved in a remarkably short period of time for this complex site and made what could have a been difficult scheme work well.”

Plans were developed by the Berners Grange Project Group with support from SLDC and Grange Town Council.

It has been part-funded with an investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

SLDC has agreed to sell the land for £1 and to make a grant of £230,000 available for the project.

More than 100 people are on the Council’s housing waiting list for affordable homes in Grange.

SLDC portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing cllr Graham Vincent said: “It is wonderful to see the work starting on this development. It’s a great scheme for that site and developing affordable homes is very important for South Lakeland, including in Grange.

“Delivery of this scheme will be a fantastic start towards our ambitious target of ensuring 1,000 new affordable homes to rent are built from 2015-2025.”

Cllrr Tom Harvey, Grange South district councillor and chairman of Grange Town Council said: "This is a project on which a number of partners have been working extremely hard for the past year or so to bring to fruition.

"We hear time and again about the need for affordable housing and I'm so pleased to see that after our efforts the diggers are finally on site at Berners and starting to build what I consider to be truly affordable homes that will allow many of our local families to stay and live and work in and around Grange."

Cllr Andrew Gardiner for Grange North said: “This is the result of a lot of hard work by the councillors and officers to bring affordable housing to Grange and hopefully they will be used for local people so they can stay in Grange and support the schools and local businesses.”

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