National award for community-owned affordable housing in Peak District village
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The recently completed Bradwell Springs project has delivered 55 new homes on the former Newburgh Engineering works in the centre of Bradwell, of which 12 are two-bedroom rental houses owned by Bradwell Community Land Trust (CLT) and managed by Peak District Rural Housing Association (PDRHA).
In recognition of its efforts, the CLT has now been presented with the 2022 Beautiful Community Led Homes award by the Community Land Trust Network, which connects 225 similar initiatives across the country.
Paul Downing, a trustee of Bradwell CLT, said: “We are particularly proud of the award because it has been a collaborative project.
“We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the landowner, developer, Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire Dales District Council and Peak District Rural Housing Association, who have been invaluable partners in the project, and above all the people of Bradwell whose support made the achievement possible.”
The new houses have been sympathetically designed with an appropriate external appearance that reflects local building traditions – a feat not always achieved by developers working to more modern methods and budgets.
The citation from the award judges described how the scheme “balanced the needs of the community with the heritage of the surroundings. In the middle of a national park and as part of the redevelopment of an old engineering works, this project has been able to bring about much needed housing that has been designed to blend seamlessly with existing houses. The project has brought new life to an old industrial site.”
Of the 43 homes built for the open market by Camstead homes, prices have reached as high as £695,000, illustrating the challenge of ensuring local homes for households of more modest means.
At one point there was a proposal to build 140 houses on the site, with none of the guarantees on affordability.
The story began to change in 2015, with national park planners, parish council and members of the community working together to create a Neighbourhood Plan which identified both the local need for affordable homes and the potential of the brownfield site for community development.
The CLT and PDRHA also negotiated the purchase of 12 former Newburgh company homes have also been safeguarded to ensure rental availability, and have plans to create four more one-bedroom apartments in the former village social club.
Newburgh Engineering’s manufacturing facility is now housed in a new, custom built facility in the village, helping to retain local jobs.
Peak District National Park community policy planner Clare Wilkins said: “The award celebrates the development of a former industrial site, the scheme’s high quality design and its success in helping to achieve community housing needs.
“The recognition matters because the global Community Land Trust Network is rapidly developing as a unique organisation capable of linking the role of governments and planners with the needs of the community. Community Land Trusts now exist throughout Europe and are also rapidly developing in South America.”
She added: “It showcases the importance of community work, and what can be achieved with a Neighbourhood Plan. We would like to see more of this happen in other areas of the national park.”