Hudswell Community Charity – investing in new affordable housing

Hudswell Community Charity was founded over a century ago for the relief of poverty and sickness among its residents. Today, it is meeting those objectives by building new affordable housing for young families.

Hudswell is a village of around 200 people in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Unlike many other Dales villages, it is not dominated by second and holiday homes and whilst many residents are retired it remains an active, working village, with almost all the homes in permanent occupation.

The average price of a property in Hudswell is currently £348,000 and there are very few properties to rent, with an average rent being £648 per month. This situation makes it very difficult for those with an average or below average income to acquire a new home in the village. After conducting a housing needs survey, trustees felt that there was sufficient demand to make use of farmland that they owned in the centre of the village and their accumulated reserves of just over £100,000 to provide three new homes.

The charity was awarded a Community Buildings Pre-feasibility grant of £10,000 to help pay for the preparation of designs and plans. The grant enabled the Charity to work up plans, make legal changes to their constitution and prepare and submit a planning application. The Planning application was prepared at cost by a local architect who lives in the village. His company, Evolve Architectural Services, continued to fully design and project manage the development of the three houses, as well as landscaping and parking.

Charity Bank also agreed to provide a loan finance of up to £250,000 and Richmondshire Council provided grant aid of £40,000. Together with £75,000 of the Charity’s reserves this provided sufficient funding to meet the building costs of around £365,000. A contract to build the properties was let to a local builder (Acomb) in December 2016 and work began on site in March 2017. The new homes were ready for  occupation in November 2017. The charity advertised the properties and also contacted all those who had responded the housing needs survey. The trustees selected two young families with long standing local connections and relatives in the village and an elderly single person, who needed the support of her daughter who lives in Hudswell to be their first tenants.

“They are all delighted with their new homes. The development was named Thompson Cottages (number 1,2and 3) after the benefactor who endowed the land to the charity in 1878.” Martin Booth, Hudswell Community Charity

Rishi Sunak MP declaring the homes officially open

The homes have been built in local stone which fits in with their surroundings. They have high quality insulation and benefit from ground source heating, which makes them warm and cheap to heat. The Charity intends to add solar panels early in the new year which will further increase their energy efficiency.