Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association (LYHA) has officially reopened Sutcliffe Buildings in Settle, North Yorkshire, following a six month refurbishment project to provide nine apartments for affordable rent. The project, which cost £750,000 and took 6 months to complete, will provide much-needed homes for the town.
The new homes were unveiled by the Chief Executive of LYHA and Paul Shevlin, Chief Executive of Craven District Council. They were joined by many of the partners that made this exciting project a reality.
The refurbishment has breathed new life into the Grade II Listed Sutcliffe Buildings, owned by LYHA since 1952. Previously known as Sutcliffe House, it was built in the 1840s as a home for the Parker family. Gone are the six three-bed flats which were inefficient, expensive to heat and not designed for 21st century living; replaced by nine modern apartments - six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom. The new apartments sensitively combine Victorian architecture and modern day living and have high levels of energy-efficiency, making them both affordable to run and great homes to live in.
This complex refurbishment was designed through partnership with Leeds-based architects, Woodhall Planning and Conservation part of Acanthus WSM, who with their heritage specialism redesigned the buildings and supported LYHA and project partners to achieve planning and Listed Building Consent. Bringing the design to life was Ilkley-based contractor, Dobson Construction Ltd, who ensured the sympathetic restoration and delivery of new homes in keeping with the Settle Community.
Speaking about the restoration of the building and the provision of much-needed new homes in Settle, our Chief Executive said: “The easy option would have been to sell Sutcliffe Buildings. It no longer provided homes that we were proud of and was expensive to maintain. However, at LYHA we believe in investing in and adding value to existing communities.
We know what impact the loss of housing and historical buildings has in rural places like Settle. We know that local people depend on having access to affordable housing to enable them to stay living and working in the area. We therefore made the bold decision to invest more than we had originally planned knowing that the financial and social return in the long term would be worth it. We had a clear vision for this building; a building that many people thought couldn’t be restored.
We have achieved this vision by working with a fantastic range of partners who have enabled us to preserve the history and legacy of this historic family home. In doing so we have also increased the number of affordable and social homes available, supported Craven District Council with their housing strategy and created homes that are beautiful; fit-for-purpose now and into the future.”
The project was part-funded with a grant of £112,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency and a £60,000 ‘empty homes’ funding grant from Craven District Council.
Paul Shevlin, Chief Executive of Craven District Council, said: “It is fantastic to see this building restored to its former glory and, most importantly, offering vital affordable homes to local people. We have been proud to support Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association in this transformation and securing these homes for years to come, making a positive difference to people’s lives.”
There are currently 547 people on Craven District Council’s housing waiting list, with 92 registering an interest in the Settle and Ribblesbank ward. The National Housing Federation’s Home Truths¹ report shows that over the next 20 years in the Yorkshire region alone, there will be 369,000 new households created, but at current building rates, there will be a shortfall of 200,000 homes by 2031.
James Rushton, Director of Dobson Construction Ltd said: “This major refurbishment project has seen Sutcliffe Buildings fully transformed both inside and out thanks to investment by Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association. The appearance of the building has been greatly enhanced by the exterior works undertaken to the benefit of the surrounding area. Sutcliffe Buildings is now well-equipped to provide Settle with much-needed homes for years to come."
LYHA has set an ambitious 20% growth target to provide a further 250 new homes by the end of 2018 in the Yorkshire region.