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‘Deeply rural’ affordable housing schemes approved

Bainbridge, 13 November, 2018

Approval has today been granted for the building of four new affordable homes in Langthwaite in Arkengarthdale – in only the second instance of a community-led housing scheme in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  

The Planning Committee also granted approval – in effect for the second time – for the building of five new affordable homes in Bainbridge, after a review was commissioned following the threat of a legal challenge.

Both schemes were brought forward under Local Plan policy “C2 – Rural exception sites”. It permits small-scale affordable housing on land outside village development boundaries where there is a proven local need for affordable housing.  

The planning officer’s report on the Langthwaite application noted that the Upper Dales area was suffering from the pressure of second home ownership – and that the scheme would help increase the supply of “local housing for the local community”.   It is only the second instance of community-led housing in the National Park, following a 2017 scheme in Hudswell highlighted earlier this year in the Authority’s annual monitoring report on planning policy implementation.

The Authority’s Member Champion for Development Management, Jim Munday, said:  “For various reasons housing associations have had to back off in recent years from building the affordable homes that are needed in many towns and villages in the National Park.  So, it is very encouraging to see this community-led housing scheme being proposed. The Upper Dales Community Land Trust, led by John Blackie, deserves considerable credit for making it happen.   The Authority has been pleased to be able to work closely with the Trust, the local community and the Housing Authority, Richmondshire District Council.

“Unlike in Langthwaite where there were no objections, a few objections were made to the affordable housing proposal in Bainbridge. We’ve had to go the extra mile to demonstrate that it is within policy. I would like to thank planning officers, as well as staff at Richmondshire District Council, for their diligence. We hope a legal agreement can now swiftly be secured for the Bainbridge scheme so that the developer can get on and build the homes for local people that we desperately need.

He added: “We know that big challenges remain when it comes to increasing housing supply in the Park.  We need more landowners to make sites available on the edge of towns and villages for affordable housing.”

Addressing the Planning Committee on the Langthwaite application, Stephen Stubbs, deputy chairman of the Upper Dales Community Land Trust and chairman of Arkengarthdale Parish Council, said: “Arkengarthdale Parish Council is every excited about the prospect of four affordable homes being built for rent in perpetuity in Arkengarthdale. They’ll be primarily for young people to live in, and will encourage them to bring up their families here and so keep the future bright for our deeply rural communities, because a Dale without the presence of young families does not have a future at all.”

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