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Progress Housing Group, Oakmere Homes and SLDC celebrate completion of affordable new homes

Official handover of the new Strawberry Fields development by Progress Housing Group, Oakmere Homes and SLDC. L-R: Jaqueline De-Rose from Progress Housing Group, Councillor Jonathan Brook from SLDC and Mark Wilkinson from Oakmere Homes. Photo Paul Heyes

Progress Housing Group has today celebrated the handover of ten affordable apartments for rent with an opening ceremony officiated by Councillor Brook, the Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder at South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

The one and two-bedroom rental apartments are located on the new Strawberry Fields development in Kendal, South Lakeland, Cumbria. 49 units have been acquired by the Group from a total of 148 new family homes being built at the site by local housing developer Oakmere Homes.

Kendal is a new area of focus for the Lancashire-based housing group that has committed to deliver more than 250 new homes per year by the end of 2023 to increase the provision of good-quality housing in the North. The Group’s focus will continue to be social rented homes to help people who are least able to find a home on the open market.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for Housing and Innovation, said: “SLDC has made the delivery of more affordable homes to rent, a key target in our Council Plan. We are especially keen to give our young people the opportunity to live and work in the areas where they have grown up. Providing affordable homes on sites like this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to this objective.

“Through our land allocations policy the council identifies sites for new housing. These sites come with the requirement that a percentage of any new homes are affordable.

“This latest development makes a further contribution to our target, set in 2014, to see 1,000 new affordable homes for rent completed by 2025.’’

Director of Development at Progress Housing Group Daniel Griffiths added: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Oakmere Homes and South Lakeland District Council to deliver 49 homes on the Strawberry Fields site.

“The affordable homes acquired by us, as part of the Section 106 agreement with South Lakeland District Council, have criteria that stipulate that the homes will be made available to people living in the local area or who have connections in the local area. This means that more local people will have the opportunity to continue living, building careers and raising their families in Kendal, whereas they may not have previously been able to due to the high property prices in the area.

“Our Affordable Rent homes on the site have rents which are set lower than market rent and the shared ownership homes, which are due for completion in July 2020, will provide opportunities to acquire a property in stages, making it more affordable to access homeownership. We look forward to welcoming our new tenants to Strawberry Fields very soon.”

Celebrating the completion, Mark Wilkinson, Operations Director from Oakmere Homes said: “The Oakmere team are thrilled to be handing over the first of the affordable homes at our Strawberry Fields development.  Together with SLDC and Progress Housing, we have delivered a quality product in a stunning environment for a growing, fully inclusive community, something we can all be proud of.

“Work is currently progressing on the next stage of development for Progress Housing Group which will see a further 37 homes including 2 & 3 bedroom houses.”

Alexander Bourne, Commercial Director for Oakmere Homes said: “As a local developer, we work with local engineers, tradesmen and suppliers to help stimulate the local economy.  Our developments, along with others, make sizeable contributions towards local infrastructure projects including funding for public open spaces, highways and schools.

“Housing development across Cumbria is helping to support over 5,500 local jobs and with a county-wide investment of over £49 million in new affordable housing, including schemes such as Strawberry Fields, we are also working to provide the much-needed starter / intermediate homes for communities to thrive.”

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