Published On: Mon, Mar 24th, 2014

Former ool site to be transformed into £6m affordable homes scheme

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Gardiner Richardson (for Two Castles)Work is underway to breathe new life into the site of a former Grange-over-Sands swimming pool, delivering more than 40 affordable homes to ease the town’s growing housing need.

With more than 3,000 people currently looking for an affordable home to rent in South Lakeland, the £6million scheme by Two Castles Housing Association and Esh Property Services will deliver 43 new homes at the former Berners Indoor Pool site, off Berners Close.

Working together under the Hadrian Development Solutions Partnership, 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 – 32 available for affordable rent and 11 available under a shared ownership arrangement.

Rob Brittain, Property Services Director at Two Castles Housing Association, said: “Whilst 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 new home will be built to reflect the character of the wider Grange-over-Sands conservation area and will be constructed using traditional building materials such as natural slate, stone elevations and a timber frame.

Built to Code Sustainable Level Three Standards, each property on-site will also include a range of energy efficient features to help make homes even 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.”

The vision for the scheme was developed by the Berners Grange Project Group with support from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) and Grange Town Council. Part-funded with an investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the scheme was also made possible thanks to SLDC agreeing to sell the land for £1 and making available a grant of £230,000 towards the project.

There are currently more than 100 people on the Council’s housing waiting list for affordable homes in Grange and this scheme, part of a wider strategy for regenerating the Berners area, provides a significant contribution towards meeting that demand.

Councillor Graham Vincent, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, 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-over-Sands.

“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.”

Councillor 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.”

Councillor Andrew Gardiner, Grange North district councillor, 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.’’

Anyone interested in renting one of these properties, should register with Cumbria Choice Based Lettings by visiting www.cumbriachoice.org.uk.  Alternatively, please call Two Castles’ Carlisle office on 01228 547463 or for more information visit Two Castles Housing Association, via www.twocastles.org.uk.

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