GRASMERE’S first social housing development for 30 years has been handed over to its tenants – and one of the first to receive a key was paralysed villager Will Clark.

The 15-home scheme at Broadgate is claimed to be one of the most innovative and ecological community housing schemes in the Lake District.

Will’s flat has been specially designed and fitted out to suit his particularly demanding needs. He was paralysed from the neck down after being thrown from his bike while on a charity cycling ride last year.

Grasmere is one of the communities in Cumbria deemed to be under the greatest housing pressure due to demand and house prices. The mix of flats and houses by Impact Housing was developed without government funding. It was financed by a combination of private borrowing, a donation from South Lakeland District Council and from Lakeland Housing Trust.

All of the homes have already been let and tenants are now moving in. All of the tenants are from Grasmere and most have lived and worked in Grasmere for many years.

Two of the properties have been sold to Lakeland Housing Trust – a local housing charity – for them to let to local residents and the income from these sales has gone to subsidise the building of the other properties.

The homes are all let at an affordable level and will have energy costs that are extremely low at around £7 per week. The scheme will therefore give security for a substantial number of local residents in affordable housing. This will make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the development.

Mike Muir, chief executive of Impact Housing, said: “It is really difficult to develop affordable housing in the Lake District. “However, in this case, there was a real enthusiasm among all the partners to make it happen. Our new scheme will be a long term asset to the community.”