Message from Bill Bewley, KCHT Chair
It is 10 years since Keswick Community Housing Trust came into existence so it is right to take a little time to look back at what we have achieved since 17th December 2010.
We recently completed our fourth project, Southey Court, increasing our tally of properties to 40 in total, which is an excellent achievement for a small voluntary group, solely run by people who give up their free time to try and tackle Keswick's local housing need.
However, at best we have slowed the loss of residential homes to second homes and holiday lets. While we acknowledge the value of the holiday homes business to the local economy, it should not be at the loss of the right of local people to work and live in the community.
We have set up a lobbying sub-group. This group will liaise with Keswick Town Council to hold the LDNPA and Allerdale BC to task about local occupancy conditions. They also hope to work with the Community Land Trust Network and others for a change in planning rules to protect residential homes in Keswick. See more in our news pages.
So why should we continue to work on projects?
There clearly remains a real need for our beautiful affordable homes. We continue to be oversubscribed by a factor of more than 4 to 1 for all our properties.
Financial experience will say that the main two reasons why organisations fail is they expand too quickly or they stagnate. It is my wish that KCHT will do neither of these.
While looking to the future, we will always balance the duty of care we have to our existing residents, by acting sensibly and steadily, and ensuring that we keep their homes safe, secure and affordable.
If we had stopped when we had completed our first development, The Hopes, we would have disappointed a lot of people including some who are very much part of our Trust, so we must keep endeavouring to satisfy the need for local people who work in the area to have affordable homes in Keswick.
Our ratio of assets to liabilities is currently approximately six to one. This means we are in a strong position to obtain development finance and grants to proceed to another project.
I see a bright future for KCHT and I ask for your continued support.