Homes boost for Lake District town where average house costs nearly 20 times average salary

The Westmorland Gazette: New resident Liz Darling with partner Heath Mortimer and Home Group's Vicky Hannah (right). New resident Liz Darling with partner Heath Mortimer and Home Group's Vicky Hannah (right).

A GROUP of residents are settling into new flats and houses which have been built as a shining example of affordable housing in a Lake District town.

The four houses and two flats represent a £900,000 development in Windermere, where the average house costs nearly 12 times the average annual salary and some times more.

Each of the properties in the Whinfield Road and Orrest Drive areas now have a local occupancy clause setting them aside for people who grew up or work in Windermere.

The measure is used by planners to help local people unable to get a foot on the property ladder because of high house prices.

The National Housing Federation says the average house price in South Lakeland is £224,506, while the average wage is estimated at £18,756.

Recently of around 111 properties advertised for sale in Windermere, the average price tag was over £367,000 - almost 20 times the estimated average wage.

The company behind the scheme said mortgage companies would be looking for those with an average income of over £48,000 - putting many properties beyond the reach of young people in particular.

Windermere is also popular with second home owners which has driven up property prices, while rental properties are often targeted towards the holiday market.

The houses and flats were built on land previously owned by South Lakeland District Council, in a link-up between the authority and the scheme developers, the Newcastle-based Home Group.

New resident Liz Darling, a 34-year-old receptionist, has moved into one of the two bedroom flats.

She said: “I grew up in the town and I work here. I’ve lived all my life in the area but property prices are sky high. I had been living in private rented accommodation but a period in which my rent was fixed was due to come to an end and then it would have been unaffordable. It’s great that more social housing has been built.”

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Home Group are a social enterprise and one of the UK’s largest providers of high quality housing.

Vicky Hannah, project manager, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to build homes in this sought-after area. South Lakeland District Council provided us with the land with the condition that the homes had a local occupancy clause.

“We were happy to comply with that. As a not for profit social landlord our main reason for being is to provide housing for people who need it and create strong communities. These homes have been allocated to local people and they will always continue to be occupied by local people.”

Comments (3)

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7:59pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

I agree with the Local Occupancy Clause, but how can a council defend itself against the charge of discriminating against certain buyers or residents who have no local connection? Has anyone ever challenged an LOC and how would a council enforce it if they did?
I agree with the Local Occupancy Clause, but how can a council defend itself against the charge of discriminating against certain buyers or residents who have no local connection? Has anyone ever challenged an LOC and how would a council enforce it if they did? Milkbutnosugarplease

8:28pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Ben Berry says...

Milkbutnosugarplease wrote:
I agree with the Local Occupancy Clause, but how can a council defend itself against the charge of discriminating against certain buyers or residents who have no local connection? Has anyone ever challenged an LOC and how would a council enforce it if they did?
Local Occupancy is enforced by the planning authority, in this case the LDNPA, not the council. Im not sure if there has been a test case about human rights being broken etc...

These houses couldnt have gone to harder working locals! Well done guys :-)
[quote][p][bold]Milkbutnosugarplease[/bold] wrote: I agree with the Local Occupancy Clause, but how can a council defend itself against the charge of discriminating against certain buyers or residents who have no local connection? Has anyone ever challenged an LOC and how would a council enforce it if they did?[/p][/quote]Local Occupancy is enforced by the planning authority, in this case the LDNPA, not the council. Im not sure if there has been a test case about human rights being broken etc... These houses couldnt have gone to harder working locals! Well done guys :-) Ben Berry

10:09am Fri 1 Mar 13

life cycle too says...

The LDNPA have been accused in the past of NOT enforcing the local occupancy conditions.

I myself have known of properties that have been purchased by a local person, then sublet to somebody from away - but how would the LDNPA know if nobody tells them?
The LDNPA have been accused in the past of NOT enforcing the local occupancy conditions. I myself have known of properties that have been purchased by a local person, then sublet to somebody from away - but how would the LDNPA know if nobody tells them? life cycle too

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