Wensleydale homes scheme highlighted for Rural Housing Week

New houses in West Witton.

Two Richmondshire housing schemes which have created rural homes for people in housing need are being highlighted for Rural Housing Week.

Eight affordable homes are being created in West Witton and an historic building in Askrigg has become three homes.

The West Witton scheme began life in 2007 when it was put forward as a site in the Yorkshire Dales National Parks suitable to satisfy localised housing need.

In 2019 Hartforth Homes was signed up as developer and community consultation showed a growing housing need.

Developed in partnership with Broadacres, the scheme will provide a mix of eight two and three bedroom affordable homes two for rent and six for discount market sale mechanism to local people to buy at a discount on the open market price.

The remaining nine properties are for general sale to bring new families to the area and ensuring local schools, pubs and shops are sustainable.

The scheme is being funded in part by Homes England’s Home Building Fund, Richmondshire District Council and Broadacres.

The Askrigg Foundation building fell into disuse and no-one wanted to lose a landmark building  – it has been a mill, café, restaurant, antique shop and parish office in its long life.

A housing need survey conducted on behalf of the trust identified a need for affordable homes to meet local demand. Work to convert it into one, one bed flat, one, two bed flat and one, two bed cottage began.

This project has been driven by the community for the community with funding from Awards for All, Richmondshire ‘s Community Led Housing Fund and Charity Bank.

All three units have now been allocated.

One new tenant, Abbey, said that she and her partner would not have been able to stay local if it had not been for the conversion of the building.

“We had been living with our respective parents, trying to save up but with the local house prices and deposits required it was impossible,” she said.

“This opportunity to move into Courtyard Cottage has enabled us both to remain in the village that we love.

“Paying an affordable rent will allows us to continue to save and eventually reach our goal of buying a house in the village and letting someone else get a start in the village.”

Rural Housing Week is an annual national celebration led by the National Housing Federation to raise awareness and promote work to increase the delivery of affordable housing to enable local people to stay in the areas they live and have grown up in.

District council leader Angie Dale said: “Delivering affordable housing in our rural areas is an essential part of the drive to keep young people living and working within the district and I am delighted that the district council has been able to assist in the schemes at Askrigg and West Witton.

“Seeing young people being able to remain living locally is the outcome that we are all working to achieve and we are looking forward to helping to deliver more housing schemes in the future in some of our other rural communities.”


  1. It will be interesting to see how many actual local people move in to the so called “affordable housing’. The cheapest being £179k,and that’s with discount. Locals I know that were interested, have been priced out!! Nothing for single people, which is what the survey identified. And I wonder how many of the private houses become second homes. As for sustaining local schools etc how many kids do they think are going to move in? This was all about ticking boxes for targets, making money, and
    nothing to do with meeting local need or sustainability, who do they think they are kidding.

    • I believe that there are a significant number of children on the waiting lists, and i dont believe any will become second homes.
      The village desperately needs these homes.

  2. “The village desperately needs these homes” Really!! I’m intrigued to know how you know how many children are on a waiting list, what waiting list! It’s a sad situation when this development has been allowed when half the village is made up of second homes.

    • It does indeed desperately need them.
      Also, I have been talking to relevant people for some time now about this, and as far as I know there are 11 children among those waiting.

  3. Only two to rent ? It’s a joke surely. You show me which local person can afford to buy one of these ? I’d be ashamed to highlight this scheme as an example of creating a solution to the local housing issue. Shocking – did the developer have to pay the huge levy for mass development charged in YDNPA ?? Maybe that’s why they are so expensive and totally unaffordable … If it did where does that money go to?? It should be ploughed in to actually paying for truly affordable homes to rent or buy for young locals .

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