Mill Lane Community Homes
Update on progress
Mill Lane Affordable Community Homes
Following a successful application for planning permission, construction started on the Mill Lane site in April 2021 of 20 *passivhaus homes. The build is progressing rapidly. The highly insulated foundations have been completed and timber frames are arriving and being erected each week. Tysons, the contractor, plan to complete on schedule in August/September 2022.
The 20 homes will be a mix of types, sizes and tenures:
- 2 x 1 bed ground floor flats (wheelchair access) – 2 rental
- 2 x 1 bed 1st floor flats – 2 rental
- 8 x 2 bed houses – 5 rental, 3 shared ownership
- 6 x 3 bed houses – 2 rental, 4 shared ownership
- 2 x 4 bed houses – 2 rental
*Passivhaus – Standard Homes
Passivhaus houses provide high levels of comfort whilst using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with great attention to detail and require rigorous design and construction. They achieve a 75% reduction in space heating requirements compared to standard practice for UK new–build houses. So they can alleviate fuel poverty.
A planning condition that Lancaster City Council requires is that we share expertise about Passivhaus construction with local contractors, suppliers and architects. So Tysons and our architects John Gilbert Associates, supported by the CLT and South Lakes Housing ran a workshop during Big Green Week in September 2021, which was very well attended by builders and contractors. Building Passivhaus- quality homes would enable the construction industry to meet 80% carbon reduction targets set by the UK government, as part of the changes needed to tackle climate change.
Car parking spaces will be along the edges of the site. For the 20 homes, we propose 14 spaces on Mill Lane, and 17 on Forge Lane. We will also be encouraging methods to minimise car use, through walking, cycling and public transport, and including the possibility of using a car sharing club. The allocation of parking spaces will be decided later; electric car charging points will be included.
The protected tree belt and Mill Lane trees
The north – south line of protected trees on the eastern site edge will be retained. We understand that Halton Senior Cohousing might make them a nature reserve. The boundary between Senior Cohousing and the Mill Lane Community Homes will be fenced.
STOP PRESS! Forge Lane adoption has been completed (November 2021).
It is n0 longer designated a private road. The County Council will be responsible for its upkeep from now on. This also means that Tysons the contractor will have access to the Mill Lane site from Forge Lane, which will ease its operations.
Tenant management and allocation criteria for the rental homes
We will continue to own the site, whilst South Lakes Housing will manage the scheme according to the terms of our 150 year lease with them. We have agreed the selection criteria in conjunction with Lancaster City Council and South Lakes Housing. The allocation process will be defined in the ‘Local Lettings Plan’ that we have agreed with them, which is legally binding, through the S106 planning agreement for the site. The allocation criteria will be the same, for affordability and local connection – local residence, employment, and family connections – that LCC apply to their District; but they will be applied to, and prioritise, applicants not from the District, but from Halton Parish. This applies to the first lettings, and to all re-lettings. The rents will be set at ‘Local Housing Allowance’ levels.
To apply for one of the 13 affordable rented homes, you must be on the Lancaster City Council Housing Register.
To apply for one of the 7 shared-ownership homes, please contact South Lakes Housing who is managing those applications separately.
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 03003038540
Who is involved?
- Lune Valley Community Land Trust are devising the plan and standard of the homes and will influence the selection of future tenants and the management of the site.
- We are working in partnership with South Lakes Housing, based in Kendal, with strong support from Lancaster City Council.
- South Lakes Housing will build the houses and manage the tenancies/part-ownership homes in accordance with a lease with Lune Valley CLT who will retain ownership of the land and connection to the management of the homes.
- Lancaster City Council is funding the initial stages of the development via a government community-led housing grant.
- Homes England, which is a public body, provides substantial grants for community-led housing schemes.
WHAT IS COMMUNITY-LED HOUSING AND WHY IS IT NEEDED?
It is housing which is planned by local people to meet local need. There is a lack of affordable homes in Halton, as in many rural areas and an urgent need to build good quality homes that remain available to local people for many years to come. More general information about Community Land Trusts can be found here.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM TRADITIONAL COUNCIL AND HOUSING ASSOCIATION HOUSING?
People who will eventually become residents need to demonstrate a genuine link to the village and a desire to build a neighbourly community. The project will be built and managed by South Lakes Housing, with oversight from Lune Valley CLT. Community-led housing is not open to the usual ‘right to buy’. Whether you are renting or have an ownership share, legal arrangements will ensure that the homes stay affordable. This way, the homes stay as a valuable local resource and future households are selected using the same criteria.