A YEAR long nightmare has ended for a group of Newby Bridge residents who feared eviction from their beloved homes.

The mainly elderly villagers who reside at Railway Cottages were stunned when owners Lake District Estates delivered a letter advising of their intention to sell the six properties, which they wanted to turn into holiday cottages.

One of the residents contacted MP Tim Farron alerting him to their deep concern and worry that they would be made homeless, and the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP agreed to take up their case.

Months of discussions followed, which culminated in agreement being reached with the South Lakes Housing (SLH) group to buy the properties.

And the deal was sealed last week when SLH were awarded a £282,000 grant from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) to help fund the purchase.

Joe Crabtree, who has lived at Railway Cottages for more than 15 years with his wife Dorothy, said the receipt of the letter advising of the intended sale sparked a period of severe stress and sleepless nights.

“It came out of the blue and it was the worst day of our lives,” he said.

“The residents just haven’t been able to sleep."

Mr Crabtree said the communication had been a particular traumatic event as he said they they had repeatedly been given assurances by Lake District Estates that their future tenancy was secure.

"We were told we would be here till we died so the letter was such a shock," he said.

The residents said there was a period of severe uncertainty until the MP became involved.

“My wife went to see Tim Farron at one of his surgeries in Grange and he was fantastic in taking up our case from that moment," Mr Crabtree explained.

“It’s such a relief for us all and I can’t thank Mr Farron enough.”

Mr Farron said he was “over the moon” at how the matter had been concluded.

“I want to say a massive thank you to South Lakes Housing for agreeing to buy these homes, and to SLDC for helping to fund it, so that these residents are able to continue to have a roof over their heads,” he said.

“I can’t even begin to imagine what the residents have been through over the past 12 months but I’m so glad we got there in the end.”