South Lakeland is the most unaffordable place to live in the North West

For sale signs in South Lakeland

For sale signs in South Lakeland

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

NEW figures released by the National Housing Federation reveal South Lakeland is the most unaffordable place to live in the North West.

House and rent prices are at an all-time high, wages are barely increasing and it would take 66,458 years to house everyone currently on the social housing waiting list.

Average house prices and rent costs have risen by 75 per cent and 14 per cent respectively since 2002, meaning the ratio of house prices to income per annum is 12.2/1.

The knock-on effects of high prices and low wages mean young people are moving away, businesses choose to open elsewhere, and more people are homeless.

Penny Severn, manager of the Housing and Benefits Advice Service, said: “We have noticed a steady increase in homelessness in the last few years. Our statistics show in January to March 2013 we had 10 homeless people, January to March this year we had 24.

“That’s the first time it’s been such a high number.”

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said: “We need more well paid jobs and this is something I’m campaigning for. We also need truly affordable social rented and council houses for local families. It’s appalling that in significant parts of the UK you need a salary of £100,000 to stay in the village you grew up in. My mission is to allow every young family in our area to have a roof over their head.”

MORE TOP STORIES:

Coun Heidi Halliday, a member of South Lakeland District Council, said: “Our young people are unable to stay in the area where they grew up. Many do want to stay and continue to be a part of that community, but the lack of truly affordable housing prevents this.

“Businesses also suffer as they are unable to attract and employ local workers in areas such as tourism and retail.

“With young people leaving it becomes more and more difficult to maintain vibrant and sustainable communities. Once communities have reached a tipping point, there is no going back so we all need to work together to prevent this happening.”

Lawrence Conway, Chief Executive of South Lakeland District Council, said: “The figures from the National Housing Federation demonstrate exactly why SLDC is committed to providing 1,000 new jobs and 1,000 affordable rented homes in South Lakeland through its Council Plan.

“Our land allocations aim to enable sites to be developed over the next 10 years in a way which encourages employment and tackles the acute shortage of affordable houses and flats to rent for local people.
 

“Our Local Plan, a blueprint for future land use up to 2025, earmarks a number of sites for new homes and businesses.

“Families, single people, and older residents who are desperate for somewhere to live will benefit, as will firms which want to expand and create new jobs.

“We are also addressing the issue of second homes by asking government for greater planning powers to allow us to restrict the number of holiday houses in parts of South Lakeland where where high levels of second homes are undermining the long-term viability of those communities.’’

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:47pm Wed 7 May 14

cumbrian1 says...

It does not help when a good percentage of housing is second homes and these owners are helping pushing property prices up.
It does not help when a good percentage of housing is second homes and these owners are helping pushing property prices up. cumbrian1
  • Score: 13

3:50pm Wed 7 May 14

jallison says...

The shortage of social housing began in 1980 when the late Mrs Thatcher's government introduced the sale of Council houses, which was also extended to include Housing Associations, which allowed tenants the Right to Buy at massive discounts, up to 60%.

When Blair was elected as the first Labour PM for 18 years, he should have repealed the 'Right to Buy' legislation, but he did nothing to resolve the looming crisis, and no one party or coalition have done so to date.

Many of your readers will be unaware that when Councils used to build housing, they had to borrow money from large financial institutions, often over long periods of up to 90 years, so it's taxpayers who are still paying off the loan debt.

Most local authorities, including SLDC have £millions from the proceeds of selling council houses sitting dormant in their coffers, but the Government won't allow them to spend it claiming it will increase inflation.

Releasing this money to build new social housing would create jobs, for those in the building trade, including builders, joiners, plumbers, electricians etc. It would also create business for carpet fitters, white goods suppliers, and all the other items need to set up up a new home.

Tim, if you really support affordable rented housing for you constituents, then get your Party to repeal the 'Right to Buy' legislation'
The shortage of social housing began in 1980 when the late Mrs Thatcher's government introduced the sale of Council houses, which was also extended to include Housing Associations, which allowed tenants the Right to Buy at massive discounts, up to 60%. When Blair was elected as the first Labour PM for 18 years, he should have repealed the 'Right to Buy' legislation, but he did nothing to resolve the looming crisis, and no one party or coalition have done so to date. Many of your readers will be unaware that when Councils used to build housing, they had to borrow money from large financial institutions, often over long periods of up to 90 years, so it's taxpayers who are still paying off the loan debt. Most local authorities, including SLDC have £millions from the proceeds of selling council houses sitting dormant in their coffers, but the Government won't allow them to spend it claiming it will increase inflation. Releasing this money to build new social housing would create jobs, for those in the building trade, including builders, joiners, plumbers, electricians etc. It would also create business for carpet fitters, white goods suppliers, and all the other items need to set up up a new home. Tim, if you really support affordable rented housing for you constituents, then get your Party to repeal the 'Right to Buy' legislation' jallison
  • Score: 13

5:10pm Wed 7 May 14

give-up says...

How, exactly, do you "campaign" for higher paid jobs? *puzzled expression*.
How, exactly, do you "campaign" for higher paid jobs? *puzzled expression*. give-up
  • Score: 7

7:39pm Wed 7 May 14

jazzactivist says...

Tim Farron can campaign for higher paid jobs by attracting higher paid industries to the area eg media industries. He can also campaign to make sure that Council services pay the upper end of the salary scale for their posts, and that existing private employers in the area pay higher salaries based on the concept of "London weighting", as it is more expensive to live and work here.

There is a serious imbalance in the Lakes between income levels, housing costs, and attitude. Housing is very expensive in comparison with earned median income. There is a large number of wealthy and retired people on good pensions living here, and this has created an unhealthy local attitude that pay is just 'pin money' and not the majority of people's main income! There is an attitude here that jobs can be filled by either young people from wealthy families who don't really need to work for a living, or by retired people working to just top up their pensions. Neither of these groups seems to mind the low wages, and employers are only too happy to oblige! This combination is driving ambitious and valuable young people away.

I don't agree with people living in the same area all of their lives and never leaving it, but there should be real options for younger people from elsewhere to come here to live and work, and for local young people to go away to university or to work elsewhere and then return with their own families if they want to. We need a vibrant region with people of all ages able to live independently on a decent income. It shouldn't be too much to ask.
Tim Farron can campaign for higher paid jobs by attracting higher paid industries to the area eg media industries. He can also campaign to make sure that Council services pay the upper end of the salary scale for their posts, and that existing private employers in the area pay higher salaries based on the concept of "London weighting", as it is more expensive to live and work here. There is a serious imbalance in the Lakes between income levels, housing costs, and attitude. Housing is very expensive in comparison with earned median income. There is a large number of wealthy and retired people on good pensions living here, and this has created an unhealthy local attitude that pay is just 'pin money' and not the majority of people's main income! There is an attitude here that jobs can be filled by either young people from wealthy families who don't really need to work for a living, or by retired people working to just top up their pensions. Neither of these groups seems to mind the low wages, and employers are only too happy to oblige! This combination is driving ambitious and valuable young people away. I don't agree with people living in the same area all of their lives and never leaving it, but there should be real options for younger people from elsewhere to come here to live and work, and for local young people to go away to university or to work elsewhere and then return with their own families if they want to. We need a vibrant region with people of all ages able to live independently on a decent income. It shouldn't be too much to ask. jazzactivist
  • Score: -32

8:10pm Wed 7 May 14

give-up says...

So why hasn't he done that before now? He's in his second term in office and he's a member of the Government of the day, so holds the power. *puzzled expression*
So why hasn't he done that before now? He's in his second term in office and he's a member of the Government of the day, so holds the power. *puzzled expression* give-up
  • Score: 10

8:34pm Wed 7 May 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

It looks to me as if the Local Occupancy Clause on ex-council houses and new-build homes has failed or it isn't being enforced. I'm an outsider from Lancashire who was looking for a house in South Lakes. I saw many houses advertised with an occupancy restriction, even building plots and barns for conversion. If local people are buying these houses at the cheaper end of the market, then surely they are setting the price by what they are prepared to offer. If they can't afford £200,000 minimum, then the price has to fall because other buyers can't step in.
It looks to me as if the Local Occupancy Clause on ex-council houses and new-build homes has failed or it isn't being enforced. I'm an outsider from Lancashire who was looking for a house in South Lakes. I saw many houses advertised with an occupancy restriction, even building plots and barns for conversion. If local people are buying these houses at the cheaper end of the market, then surely they are setting the price by what they are prepared to offer. If they can't afford £200,000 minimum, then the price has to fall because other buyers can't step in. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 5

10:15am Thu 8 May 14

Spotty Fish says...

jazzactivist suggests that there is an attitude around here that jobs are filled by rich kids and OAP's who don't really need the money, and also that people shouldn't expect to be born here and then live here all their lives, even if they want to!
Seriously, what do they put in the water in Grange? What evidence do you have of an area full of rich kids working for a bit of money for their weekly fix of Pimm's and caviar? And why on earth shouldn't someone born here spend their life here if they want to?
jazzactivist suggests that there is an attitude around here that jobs are filled by rich kids and OAP's who don't really need the money, and also that people shouldn't expect to be born here and then live here all their lives, even if they want to! Seriously, what do they put in the water in Grange? What evidence do you have of an area full of rich kids working for a bit of money for their weekly fix of Pimm's and caviar? And why on earth shouldn't someone born here spend their life here if they want to? Spotty Fish
  • Score: 10

2:29pm Thu 8 May 14

jazzactivist says...

Well, they can if they really want to, Spotty Fish, but I think it is better for people to spend some time living away from the area they grew up in so that they have different experiences to compare and can bring new ideas back to the area if they return. Travel broadens your horizons in all sorts of ways.

My evidence of many jobs here being filled by people who don't need the money to live on comes from my partner's and my experience of living and working here and serving on several committees. Whenever someone is to be paid for a job - permanent or temporary or contracted - there always seems to be an issue about the level of pay, with a number of people arguing to pay the post holder the lowest figuire. I always argue that people need decent, livable pay, and stable contracts, but the majority of those making the decisions seem to think that the likely candidates for the jobs are going to be young graduates living with their parents or retired people, who don't expect decent pay. You only need to look at the list of vacancies to the right of this page to see the low salaries for management level jobs in Cumbria - usually around c£20,000pa - which isn't enough to live on in this area. Like him or not, and I've gone off him greatly, Tim Farron is our MP and he SHOULD be campaigning for better pay and cheaper housing in the region.
Well, they can if they really want to, Spotty Fish, but I think it is better for people to spend some time living away from the area they grew up in so that they have different experiences to compare and can bring new ideas back to the area if they return. Travel broadens your horizons in all sorts of ways. My evidence of many jobs here being filled by people who don't need the money to live on comes from my partner's and my experience of living and working here and serving on several committees. Whenever someone is to be paid for a job - permanent or temporary or contracted - there always seems to be an issue about the level of pay, with a number of people arguing to pay the post holder the lowest figuire. I always argue that people need decent, livable pay, and stable contracts, but the majority of those making the decisions seem to think that the likely candidates for the jobs are going to be young graduates living with their parents or retired people, who don't expect decent pay. You only need to look at the list of vacancies to the right of this page to see the low salaries for management level jobs in Cumbria - usually around c£20,000pa - which isn't enough to live on in this area. Like him or not, and I've gone off him greatly, Tim Farron is our MP and he SHOULD be campaigning for better pay and cheaper housing in the region. jazzactivist
  • Score: -30

5:29pm Fri 9 May 14

ImFromAmbleside says...

Wow, what a discussion so far.

The lakes is a very expensive place to live and visit, and I don't think many would disagree, but having lived in Ambleside my whole life it is plain to see that there is a serious issue with housing.

I live on a small terrace of houses and out of all of them mine is the only house that isn't a second/holiday home. This is half of the problem.

The other half of the problem is that, being a predominantly services based village, there are very few decent wages to be earned. In fact people are not paid based on their level of skill, knowledge or experience, people are almost always paid on their age.

This isn't just a Lake District issue, but it is compounded here due to the desirability of the area, the lack of restrictions on property use, and the fundamental error of councils and NIMBY's refusing to build, or allow the building of, more social housing.

The sad fact of the matter is that when more social housing was planned here in Ambleside, the one week a year residents (who are always the most vocal NIMBY's) bought up the land to prevent it being built on.
A scandalous and sickening situation. How do you deal with that?
Wow, what a discussion so far. The lakes is a very expensive place to live and visit, and I don't think many would disagree, but having lived in Ambleside my whole life it is plain to see that there is a serious issue with housing. I live on a small terrace of houses and out of all of them mine is the only house that isn't a second/holiday home. This is half of the problem. The other half of the problem is that, being a predominantly services based village, there are very few decent wages to be earned. In fact people are not paid based on their level of skill, knowledge or experience, people are almost always paid on their age. This isn't just a Lake District issue, but it is compounded here due to the desirability of the area, the lack of restrictions on property use, and the fundamental error of councils and NIMBY's refusing to build, or allow the building of, more social housing. The sad fact of the matter is that when more social housing was planned here in Ambleside, the one week a year residents (who are always the most vocal NIMBY's) bought up the land to prevent it being built on. A scandalous and sickening situation. How do you deal with that? ImFromAmbleside
  • Score: 8

11:06am Sat 10 May 14

jallison says...

ImFromAmbleside wrote:
Wow, what a discussion so far.

The lakes is a very expensive place to live and visit, and I don't think many would disagree, but having lived in Ambleside my whole life it is plain to see that there is a serious issue with housing.

I live on a small terrace of houses and out of all of them mine is the only house that isn't a second/holiday home. This is half of the problem.

The other half of the problem is that, being a predominantly services based village, there are very few decent wages to be earned. In fact people are not paid based on their level of skill, knowledge or experience, people are almost always paid on their age.

This isn't just a Lake District issue, but it is compounded here due to the desirability of the area, the lack of restrictions on property use, and the fundamental error of councils and NIMBY's refusing to build, or allow the building of, more social housing.

The sad fact of the matter is that when more social housing was planned here in Ambleside, the one week a year residents (who are always the most vocal NIMBY's) bought up the land to prevent it being built on.
A scandalous and sickening situation. How do you deal with that?
I agree with all you say. I've lived in the Lakes all my life, both north, west and south lakes. Currently, I live in Arnside which is in South Cumbria, despite many thinking it's in Lancashire.

The situation you describe for Ambleside is pretty much the same in Arnside.

Social housing in the South Lakes area is now managed by Cumbria Choice, consisting of the former Council's & Housing Associations in the Cumbria area.

With the current waiting list for social housing in the South Lakes, only 65 units have been let in Ambleside in the last 2.5 years, and in Arnside only 10 units in the last four years.

Extended families are a thing of the past, since young people cannot get social housing nor can they afford to buy or pay the high rents asked for by private landlords.

jazzactivist may have an opinion that disagrees with people living in the same area all of their lives and never leaving it. But if that's what people want, then they should be able to do so rather than being forced to move due to lack of social housing, second homes and a drastic shortage of affordable housing to buy.

In areas like South Lakes, there are plenty of holiday homes for sale on the many beautiful static caravan parks in the area. Having owned two in the past, static caravans now have DG, CH, two bathrooms and high standards of insulation. Legislation could be introduced where conventional housing in areas like South Lakes should only be available to those seeking a permanent home, and not for second home users.
[quote][p][bold]ImFromAmbleside[/bold] wrote: Wow, what a discussion so far. The lakes is a very expensive place to live and visit, and I don't think many would disagree, but having lived in Ambleside my whole life it is plain to see that there is a serious issue with housing. I live on a small terrace of houses and out of all of them mine is the only house that isn't a second/holiday home. This is half of the problem. The other half of the problem is that, being a predominantly services based village, there are very few decent wages to be earned. In fact people are not paid based on their level of skill, knowledge or experience, people are almost always paid on their age. This isn't just a Lake District issue, but it is compounded here due to the desirability of the area, the lack of restrictions on property use, and the fundamental error of councils and NIMBY's refusing to build, or allow the building of, more social housing. The sad fact of the matter is that when more social housing was planned here in Ambleside, the one week a year residents (who are always the most vocal NIMBY's) bought up the land to prevent it being built on. A scandalous and sickening situation. How do you deal with that?[/p][/quote]I agree with all you say. I've lived in the Lakes all my life, both north, west and south lakes. Currently, I live in Arnside which is in South Cumbria, despite many thinking it's in Lancashire. The situation you describe for Ambleside is pretty much the same in Arnside. Social housing in the South Lakes area is now managed by Cumbria Choice, consisting of the former Council's & Housing Associations in the Cumbria area. With the current waiting list for social housing in the South Lakes, only 65 units have been let in Ambleside in the last 2.5 years, and in Arnside only 10 units in the last four years. Extended families are a thing of the past, since young people cannot get social housing nor can they afford to buy or pay the high rents asked for by private landlords. jazzactivist may have an opinion that disagrees with people living in the same area all of their lives and never leaving it. But if that's what people want, then they should be able to do so rather than being forced to move due to lack of social housing, second homes and a drastic shortage of affordable housing to buy. In areas like South Lakes, there are plenty of holiday homes for sale on the many beautiful static caravan parks in the area. Having owned two in the past, static caravans now have DG, CH, two bathrooms and high standards of insulation. Legislation could be introduced where conventional housing in areas like South Lakes should only be available to those seeking a permanent home, and not for second home users. jallison
  • Score: 7

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree