AN AFFORDABLE homes charity is to expand its portfolio of properties after receiving £750,000 in funding.
The Lakeland Housing Trust (LHT) is using the loan from Unity Trust Bank (UTB) to build new properties and make improvements to others.
The Kendal-based charity owns 49 properties, and tenancies are only offered to local people who cannot afford to buy or rent in the region.
Malcolm Tillyer, LHT chairman, said: “We are based in a beautiful part of the country and tourism plays a major role in supporting the local economy.
However, the downside of this growth in second-home ownership is that house prices are no longer affordable for local people, particularly the young.
“Many have had to leave their beloved Lakes, which is sad.”
The loan money will be used to build two three-bedroom semi-detached properties at Grasmere, renovate a house at Sawrey and make improvements to other properties. A £60,000 legacy, as well as the proceeds of a house in Grasmere which was bequeathed to the charity, are also being used to fund the work.
An LHT spokeswoman said spiralling house prices had ‘long been an issue in the Lake District’ and that second homes accounted for ‘80 per cent of all houses in some villages’.
Mr Tillyer said: “Some people have seen properties being sold as second homes and witnessed the loss of local communities, so have generously bequeathed their home to us so that it will be lived in by deserving locals.”
Ian Heesom, relationship manager at UTB, emphasised that a lack of affordable housing was a particular problem in tourist destinations such as the Lake District.
Mr Heesom said: “UTB is committed to helping organisations that share our values in wanting to make a difference to the communities we serve and create a better society.”
Mr Tillyer said UTB’s ‘ethos’ made it an ‘obvious choice’ for the trust when it was seeking loan funding.
Article written by Joe Fletcher, Westmorland Gazette
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