Hudswell Community Charity - Richmondshire



Hudswell is a small village of some 250 people, straddling the boundary between the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Richmondshire District Council. The Community Charity is a small almshouse charity, run by local residents, that owns three affordable rented cottages in the village as well as 30 acres of farmland. A separate community-led organisation has recently taken on the local community pub.

  • The idea of using a small part of their land within the National Park to provide more affordable rented homes first surfaced at least 30 years ago
  • The trustees made good use of local expertise, recruiting a resident with a professional housing background as Secretary and securing some initial, cost-free design work from an architect who also lived in the village
  • With the support of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Richmondshire Council’s Rural Housing Enabler, they carried out a village housing needs survey and put together some initial plans for five new terraced dwellings
  • The next step was to hold a public meeting in the village which attracted 40 residents and enabled some people living next to the site to express their concerns. Nevertheless, the meeting concluded that providing more affordable homes here was worth considering
  • The Trustees decided that a development of three houses was the best way forward and spent some time talking to objectors in the village to try to bring them on board. At a second public meeting, held one year after the first and attended by a similar number of residents, a revised scheme attracted a lot more support
  • Hudswell’s trustees secured a £10,000 grant from Locality, which paid for planning and architects fees and other scheme-related costs up to the planning permission stage. They also had some early advice from Locality on how best to take things forward
  • With the need to design homes in keeping with others in the village and to comply with National Park requirements, the three stone built dwellings were not going to be provided cheaply. With development costs estimated at just under £400,000, raising the funding required was the next big challenge
  • The trustees were fortunate to have over £100,000 of reserves, built up over the years from the rents from their three almshouses. They were prepared to use this money to attract £250,000 of borrowing from Charity Bank, alongside £40,000 from Richmondshire Council’s Section 106 budget. It meant that there was no need for other forms of subsidy or a need to partner with a housing association, enabling the Hudswell trustees to go it alone. Which is what they have done
  • The homes are now let at affordable rent levels of £400 to £450 a month exclusively to local people, who will have no right to buy. With young people struggling to find a home in Hudswell and private rented homes running at £600 plus a month, the trustees were always confident that they would have no problems finding local people happy to take them on

We felt that this new housing scheme was the best use we could make of the charity’s assets. We weren’t impressed by another so called affordable housing scheme in the village which was anything but affordable and has seen two of the homes sold to outsiders – one for a holiday let. We were determined not to go down that road and instead provide homes which would always be genuinely affordable and would be available for local people for generations to come”.

Martin Booth  Secretary Hudswell Community Charity

A copy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Planning decision is here.


Published in March 2018