Young tenants move into affordable housing in Askrigg village of Dales as historic property is converted for the first time
The Wensleydale charity, the Askrigg Foundation, has renovated two apartments and a chalet in a historic property for the benefit of those not on the market.
The leases have now been awarded and all three properties are protected against sale in perpetuity, meaning they will always remain available for rent.
The project will strengthen the viability of Askrigg’s hotel businesses, as two of the new residents work in local pubs.
One of the apartments was taken by Richard McGuinness, a chef of the King’s Arms, while the Courtyard Cottage is occupied by bartender George Handley, son of the owner of the Crown Inn, and his girlfriend Abbey Walker, engineer and student at part-time. The third property is leased to Helen Hargrave, who works as a teaching assistant at Wensleydale School.
One-bedroom apartments are just £ 325 per month to rent and the two-bedroom cottage, which has a garden, costs £ 475.
The Trustees of the Askrigg Foundation were able to continue the restoration of the Market Square building they had owned since it was bequeathed by a local vicar in the 1970s with support from a Richmondshire Council fund aimed at implement affordable housing programs.
The property had fallen into disrepair, with part of the roof exposed, and had been underutilized for several years. As part of the project, a shop on the ground floor was taken over by a group of 17 local artists to become a commercial cooperative.
The Richmondshire Council provided a range of grants, including £ 6,000 for start-up costs, £ 18,000 for feasibility work and £ 150,000 for capital investments.
However, the demand for the properties was not as high as the volunteers had expected, and President Elizabeth Fawcett believes the situation highlights persistent inequalities in the local housing market. Candidates from the parishes of Askrigg and Bainbridge have been ranked in order of priority.
“The opportunity to do it came from the city council housing fund, and this grant gave us the impetus – it saved the building, otherwise we would have had to sell it. It paid for the new wiring and plumbing. , and they are really beautiful properties now.
“I think the gap here is affordable family homes with three or four bedrooms, rather than smaller apartments for rent. My daughter lived with us until she saved up to buy a place in Leyburn rather than wasting money on rent, and I think a lot of young people are doing that. However, we were able to leave them all to people who met the criteria. “
Abbey Walker, 23, tenant of Courtyard Cottage, added: “The Foundation that created the two affordable rented apartments and the chalet we live in has been a great asset to Askrigg. It has made it possible for the young people to stay in the village. rather than moving away to find cheaper accommodation.
“The prices of homes in the Dales for buying and renting properties are outrageous; George and I wouldn’t have had the chance to live here together otherwise. Due to the reduced rental cost, we still manage to save for a down payment for the future, with the hope of being able to buy locally. It’s great that George was able to stay with Askrigg, as he was born and raised here, and he is now able to stay close to his family and his work in his family’s pub in the village. I’m still a short distance from all my family in Finghall too.
“The chalet itself is amazing and has been wonderfully renovated. The Askrigg Foundation is truly proactive and reachable, which you won’t find renting in big cities, and nothing is ever too difficult.”