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Monday, 22 December 2014

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South Lakes family delight at new home development

A NEW social housing development is to help address a lack of affordable rented property in the South Lakes.

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NEW START: Four-year-old Adam Newton cuts the ribbon on a new housing development with South Lakes Housing chairwoman Mary Dowling, watched by Councillor Jonathan Brook (left), South Lakes Housing chief executive Peter Thomas (right) and Adam’s parents, James and Vickie with their seven-month-old twins Ashton and Tomas SUBMITTED

South Lakes Housing, a not-for-profit social landlord which took over the ownership of more than 3,000 former council homes in March, has just completed a new development at School Knott in Windermere – the first development of new affordable housing in the town since 2006.

The development has been a joint project with South Lakeland District Council and was officially opened by South Lakes Housing board chairman Mary Dowling and council leader, Councillor Peter Thornton.

Unpopular bedsits in the neighbourhood have been converted into nine family homes and two bungalows. The properties will accommodate nine families and two single people who between them have been on the waiting list for social housing for 19 years.

New tenants James and Victoria Newton, who have moved into the development, said: “It’s good to see some new, affordable housing at last. We’ve seen house prices go up and up, and local people have simply been priced out of the market.

“A lot of the homes around here are holiday lets, so they stand empty for half the year. It’s hard to develop a sense of community in these circumstances. We have been waiting for a family home for five years, so this new home is providing a fresh start for us. We hope other families will be able to benefit from new family homes in the future.”

The £38m investment programme has regenerated existing housing by installing new kitchens and bathrooms, central heating systems, fencing and gates, and new front and back doors.

House prices in South Lakeland have rocketed by 197 per cent between 2000 and 2010, with the average price of a home now standing at £211,000 – compared to the Cumbrian average of £144,000.

The waiting list for social housing in the district stands at around 3,000 and, for each family house that becomes available, there are 34 applications on average.

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