South Lakeland District Council and South Lakes Housing have officially marked the development of the former town hall in Ulverston into 17 affordable homes.
The completion of the project and tenants moving into their new homes represents SLDC helping to deliver 500 affordable homes for rent since 2014 – half-way towards its target of 1,000 new affordable homes for rent by 2025.
The council has made the provision of more affordable homes to rent a key target to meet local needs, especially for young families in the district.
Councillor Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader of SLDC and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Innovation, said: “I am delighted to see this development at the former Ulverston Town Hall now occupied and providing much-needed affordable housing for so many people.
“The provision of more affordable homes to rent, particularly for young local families, is a key target in our Council Plan and our continued partnership working on projects like this with organisations like South Lakes Housing and many others around the district is keeping us on track to deliver our target of 1,000 new affordable homes to rent by 2025.
“We feel strongly that SLDC has a critical part to play in maintaining sustainable and balanced communities, and it is very satisfying to see an example of this policy coming to fruition as effectively as it has here.”
In 2015 an agreement was reached which secured the future of Ulverston’s Coronation Hall and at the same time enabled the town hall building to be re-developed for much-needed affordable housing by South Lakes Housing.
Ulverston Town Council agreed to surrender its historic user rights to use the council chamber in Ulverston Town Hall, and to move its monthly full council meetings to the town’s Coronation Hall, to save taxpayers money without affecting services.
The agreement paved the way for SLDC to release the town hall, securing the long-term future of the Coronation Hall and creating a single venue as a focus for civic and community use in Ulverston.
South Lakes Housing undertook the conversion and new build project with the support of grants from Homes England and SLDC to support the delivery of the affordable housing. The building work was completed by Leek Construction.
SLDC’s financial contribution was £495,000 from the Right to Buy Replacement Fund.
Cath Purdy, Chief Executive of South Lakes Housing said: “ We are delighted that local residents are now enjoying the benefits of their new homes. South Lakes Housing has a strong commitment to increase the supply of affordable homes for local people and has invested substantial financial resources and project management capacity to deliver the Ulverston Town Hall development.
“This innovative project breathes new life into a historic and much-loved building in the centre of Ulverston which had previously been underused and difficult to maintain.
“The impressive outcome demonstrates South Lakes Housing’s commitment to positively investing in communities across South Lakeland and beyond. “
Resident Amanda Wynn said: “Ulverston Town Hall Apartments is a really good location for us job wise as it is in the centre of Ulverston and it is really economical as we both then do not need to drive. It is also really nice to be able to move into somewhere new where my little boy has his own room.”
Through its land allocations, South Lakeland District Council identifies sites for new housing, with the normal requirement that 35 per cent of any new development will be made up of affordable homes.
Since the 1,000 target was set in 2014, new affordable homes for rent have been built across South Lakeland, including on developments in Ambleside, Kendal, Coniston, Grange, Staveley, Ulverston and Kirkby Lonsdale.