LYHA Settle Scheme Celebrated at Industry Awards

A £750,000 refurbishment project by Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association (LYHA), Leeds-based architects, Woodhall Planning and Conservation and Ilkley-based contractor, Dobson Construction Ltd, to create nine affordable apartments within a former Victorian family home in Settle was recognised as a finalist in the Best Affordable Rural Housing Development category at the prestigious Inside Housing Development Awards in London last night.

The Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the very best residential development across the UK from the past year. Judged by an expert panel, the Best Affordable Rural Housing Development Award recognises a completed development that creates a new community and a desirable, high quality place to live that residents can afford.

Joanna Chambers, head of home and growth at LYHA, said: “We were delighted to represent West Yorkshire at the awards ceremony and raise awareness of this fantastic project. The Grade II Listed Sutcliffe Buildings has been in LYHA ownership since 1952 and housed six three-bed flats which were inefficient, expensive to heat and not designed for 21st century living. The easy option would have been to sell the building but, with high demand for affordable homes in this rural community where many local people are priced out of the market due to second homes and a lack of good quality rented properties, we saw the opportunity to invest in and add value to the existing community.”

This complex refurbishment, which involved years of planning and design and only 6 months to complete, saw the six flats transformed into 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.

The scheme 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.

Lisa Pickard, chief executive of LYHA, said: “I’m delighted that this stunning development achieved through the determination of many individuals and brilliant partnerships was shortlisted with so many fantastic rural housing developments created by our peers. Not only has it provided nine high quality affordable homes it has created life-changing moments for local people who may otherwise have struggled to live and work in or be close to family and support networks.  We could have just sold the building and reinvested the proceeds into new build homes elsewhere but this would have had a negative impact on Settle and whilst we knew this was always going to be a challenge we were determined to invest in this community.

We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved and pleased we made the decision to breathe new life into this historic building. There is a real shortage of affordable rented homes in rural communities and this development shows what can be achieved.”

To make this £750,000 project possible, LYHA secured a grant of £112,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency and a £60,000 ‘empty homes’ funding grant from Craven District Council.

LYHA was one of only nine finalists in this category, and the only West Yorkshire-based housing association. The award was won by Derwenthorpe, a joint venture between Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust and David Wilson Homes for a large-scale low-carbon community in York.