THE provision of affordable housing in the Yorkshire Dales has received a major boost following a key vote yesterday (Tuesday 25 July) in which members of the North Yorkshire County Council Executive opted to sell land and property in Upper Wensleydale to a housing association for well below their market value.
"there is an acute shortage of homes for people,
especially the young, in an affordable price
range" - Councillor Carl Les
High Hall at Bainbridge is set to be sold to the Broadacres Housing Association for £250,000 - nearly half a million pounds less than the property would be expected to realise if sold without restrictions on the open market.
County Councillor Carl Les, executive member with responsibility for corporate services, said:
"We all know there is an acute shortage of homes for people, especially the young, in an affordable price range in many rural areas, and in particular in the Yorkshire Dales.
"We need more local housing for local people, and this is an excellent way of helping to provide it."
The lack of affordable homes in towns and villages across the Dales is still a significant problem affecting the close-knit communities as young people and those on low incomes continue to be pushed out of the local housing market by the influx of wealthy urbanites that buy up property and then simply do not contribute to the local economy.
The exact specification and tenure details of the new homes will be decided by Richmondshire District Council, the housing authority for the area.
John Blackie, who as well as being the Upper Dales representative on North Yorkshire County Council is also the leader of Richmondshire District council, said: "What we have emerging in Bainbridge is a flagship scheme of huge importance to the communities of the Upper Dales.
We all know there is an acute shortage of homes for people, especially the young, in an affordable price range in many rural areas, and in particular in the Yorkshire Dales
Carl Les - County Councillor
"It is also a beacon example of partnership working, especially between the county council and the district council.
"With the average price of a modest two-bedroomed cottage in the Upper Dales hovering around £200,000, there is an extreme problem with local affordable housing."
High Hall is currently one of the county council's residential homes for the elderly. It will be replaced by a new state-of-the-art extra care housing scheme in partnership with the District Council and Housing 21, a housing association.
High Hall itself will be converted into ten new homes, while a further seven houses will be built in the grounds.