Posted by: lvcpnews | February 2, 2011

“Community building its own Housing” Press Release 26th January 2010

Press Release 26th January 2010

The following press release was issued by the LCT on 26th January and has been picked up by most local papers.

“Community building its own Housing”

A community group, the Lyvennet Community Trust (LCT) established in 2009 has just purchased a site and obtained planning permission for 12 affordable houses in Crosby Ravensworth.

The LCT was formed following a Housing Need Survey carried out in the Parishes of Crosby Ravensworth and Kings Meaburn in late 2008. This highlighted a need for 23 affordable homes in the two Parishes. Working closely with Eden District Council and Cumbria Rural Housing Trust the group quickly realised the potential of a Community Land Trust approach where ownership and management of the properties is retained by the community in perpetuity.

In August 2009 the LCT became a registered company and after nearly 12 months of work became a charity in December 2010.

Over the last two years the group has risen to the challenge of very bureaucratic processes becoming a Registered Provider of Social Housing, and an Investment Partner with the Governments Homes & Communities Agency (HCA). Thanks to the national Community Land Trust Fund supported by the Tudor Trust, Esmee Fairbairn, and Venturesome charities, the LCT was able to  buy the  site. The Trustees are now trying to meet very tight deadlines to secure HCA housing grant funding which may not be available in the future, and are now supported by Eden Housing Association who are providing professional advice and will manage the properties on behalf of the Trust on completion.

The scheme will provide affordable rented and shared ownership homes as well as a number of self build units responding to the desire of some households to have a hand in the design and construction of their own homes.

The old Cumbria Stoneworks in Crosby Ravensworth has been lying redundant since 2003. Working with Marshalls PLC Directors the LCT Trustees secured the site on Chrismas Eve 2010, an early Christmas present.

Ian Watson, Marshalls Plc Group Property Director stated, “Marshalls are pleased to have worked in collaboration and be associated with the Lyvennet Community Trust, to achieve planning consent and a land transfer for much needed affordable housing and other development opportunities within the heart of this rural community. Following the closure of the Cumbria Stoneworks, it has taken a considerable amount of effort to achieve consent, which includes a beneficial community use on this sensitive brownfield site. The Lyvennet Community Trust is working to support its community with various well-considered village based initiatives. This small innovative flagship rural housing project could create a blueprint for many other small communities with similar needs”.

“Landscape and landscape design are important to Marshalls.  We consider the planned layout achieves a good and practical balance of function and design within this beautiful natural rural setting.  Marshalls, the UK’s leading hard landscaping manufacturer, has been a socially responsible company for more than a century and is justifiably proud of its heritage and ongoing market leadership, winning many community and business awards.  Working with the community is part of the fibre of Marshalls as a business and it is pleased to see that the former Cumbria Stoneworks at Crosby Ravensworth site is being redeveloped to benefit this rural community”.

David Graham, Chair of the LCT said “Marshalls have been extremely supportive of the community housing approach and have worked closely with us over the last 18 months to find a solution that worked for both organisations”

Eden District Council approved the planning application for the 12 affordable homes (10 rented and 2 shared ownership in a mixture of 2 and 3 bedroom configurations) on 20th January 2011. The Trust have worked closely with Eden Planners to ensure the scheme is appropriate to its village location. The houses are placed around a village green feature with parking and access deliberately placed to the rear. The village feel continues with few footpaths, kerbs and no street lighting. The density of housing was also a crucial issue for the Trust. Whilst other developers may have shoe horned 30 houses on to the site, the Trust were keen to retain the rural feel and limited the development to 22 properties.

A further planning application is shortly to be lodged for another 8 properties with this element of the scheme specifically for self builders. All 20 houses will have local occupancy restrictions. Marshalls will make the final 2 plots available to the market at a later date.

The LCT affordable housing scheme along with other community projects in the area; pub co-operative, anaerobic digester, etc were all seen as inspirational by the local MP, Rory Stewart.

Rory lobbied Government for three community groups in Eden, to become a vanguard for the ‘Big Society’. In July 2010 the Government announced that the Eden Valley; comprising Upper Eden, Heart of Eden and Lyvennet Valley Community Plan groups, had been selected as one of four pilot or vanguard groups for the initiative. The Cumbria, Eden Valley group is the only pilot which is completely community driven. Local authorities are leading the other three groups in Liverpool, Sutton in south London, and Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire.

The affordable housing project is by far the most advanced and as a result has had visits from a Government Cabinet Minister along with representatives from key Government Departments.

David Graham, Chair of the LCT said “We continue to be supported by Rory Stewart, Penrith & Borders MP, along with a Government team and their assistance is proving invaluable in removing some of the bureaucratic barriers to the project. Eden District Council are also working to help deliver this and other community projects as well as recording the learning achieved for use with other communities in the Eden area, wider Cumbria and nationally”

Rory Stewart MP said: “An exciting new precedent has been set at Crosby Ravensworth. David Graham and his colleagues at the Lyvennet Community Trust have tirelessly pursued their goal to provide affordable housing in Crosby Ravensworth that is proportionate to the community’s needs and wishes. They have effectively set up their own housing association, and with the help of the Big Society agenda have successfully busted bureaucratic barriers that would have made this impossible before. It’s the Localism Bill in action, and its lessons have immense value for rural communities across Britain.”

Work is expected to start on the £1.8m scheme in early summer this year with the first tenants moving in by April 2012.

Notes

Further information can be obtained by contacting

David Graham, Chair LCT on 07825 148853 or by email to   lct@crosbyraven.freeserve.co.uk

Photos

The Stoneworks Site

The Stoneworks Site

Ian Watson (right centre) Group Property Director, Marshalls plc with Cameron Smith ( LCT Treasurer ) and other LCT Trustees

Ian Watson (right centre) Group Property Director, Marshalls plc with Cameron Smith ( LCT Treasurer ) and other LCT Trustees Andy Lloyd, Cumbria Rural Housing Trust, Jill Winder, Susan Ferguson, Cameron Smith, Ian Watson (right centre) Group Property Director, Marshalls plc Christine Smith, Roger Bird, Joan Raine (Chair of Eden DC). Photo taken at the site entrance

The 12 affordable community homes placed around a central village green.

The 12 affordable community homes placed around a central village green.

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