Rural Case Studies

Find out about how our members are delivering affordable houses in rural areas.

Over 440 of our members own and manage 728,000 homes in village and market towns across the country. Read the case studies below to find out more.

Isos Housing, Northumberland

Isos Housing worked closely with land owner Northumberland Estates, Northumberland County Council and Lesbury Parish Council to complete a £1.65 million affordable housing development in the prosperous Northumbrian village of Lesbury. The scheme received a Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) grant of £930,000. The scheme was completed in May 2010.

The Townfoot development of 12 homes are all stone faced, so sit comfortably alongside existing properties in the village. The development was shortlisted for a national HCA award in the rural housing category.

The homes were so popular they were more than five times oversubscribed when they were advertised.

The chair of Lesbury Parish Council visited the site every six weeks during construction, and the council kept local residents up to date with the development in its bi-monthly newsletters.

In January 2012 the scheme received a visit from local MP, Sir Alan Beith (pictured above) during the National Housing Federation’s Northern Rural Housing Week.

Restoration of Greenroyd Mill, Sutton in Craven, North Yorkshire

Located on the edge of the village of Sutton in Craven, Greenroyd Mill is a nineteenth and twentieth century textile mill, which ceased production over 20 years ago.

Using local labour including apprenticeships, the project, in a conservation area, has brought back in to use a derelict industrial building that had
been empty for four years to create general needs affordable homes and new housing for older people.

The conversion of the 150 year-old mill has provided:

  • bedroom maisonettes plus 14 two-bedroom apartments.
  • 19, two and one bed, sheltered flats for the over 55s - occupied by Yorkshire
    Housing tenants
  • 20, two bed, general needs homes that will be available for sub-market rent and
    shared ownership managed by Yorkshire Housing
  • 26 homes managed by Jephson Housing Association, 12 two, three and four

The scheme also incorporates heated bat boxes as part of the building.

The development is the largest of its type in the area for many years and has increased the availability of homes for local people residing in an area of increasingly unaffordable housing. The housing supply has been managed without building on a green field adjacent to a national park.

The project is unique in that a joint commissioning approach was used throughout to minimise costs and reduce delays in the process.

Lessons Learned

  • It is possible to take partnership activities beyond that which is normally accepted and save money if all the partners are willing to make the commitment and develop shared working methods.
  • Early engagement with the Parish Council and community groups facilitates the planning and delivery process.
  • It is possible to install renewable energy technologies in a historic building that is in shared ownership to achieve valuable savings that contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty.
  • Restoring an old building can improve the environment in more ways than simply converting an 'eyesore' in to usable housing

The success of the Greenroyd Mill scheme was recognised when it was awarded the 'Outstanding achievement in collaborative and partnership working award' at the Local Government Yorkshire and Humber making a difference awards 2011.