Our first development was made possible due to St John’s Church generously agreeing to make a plot of land available at a price which enabled us to provide genuinely affordable homes.
Our first residents moved into The Hopes in December 2013, occupying 11 family houses – five 50% shared-ownership, five rentals and one which was sold off to help finance the £1.1 million development. All 11 houses have three bedrooms and a garden, along with designated parking space.
One shared-ownership house has since switched to rental after the occupants left. They are the only residents to have left, which is a measure of how popular our properties are.
December 2012 and work starts on The Hopes housing development, with KCHT chairman Bill Bewley (holding spade) joined by fellow volunteers from the trust He said: “We have made a difference in Keswick with The Hopes and we hope to go on to make an even bigger difference.”
KCHT treasurer Dr Peter Roberts at The Hopes during initial construction of its first properties in March 2013, nine months before the first residents moved in. “The intention is that they should go to people with a local connection and a Keswick commitment who can stay and contribute to the community for a long time. When they do come to move on, it is our intention that these houses should be passed on to similar people,” said Dr Roberts.
Cumberland Building Society business lending manager Lionel Dobson (left) and site manager Steve Pickering (right) with KCHT treasurer Dr Peter Roberts at The Hopes as worked progressed in June 2013. Mr Dobson said: “We are keen to be involved because of the community aspect of the project, which is helping Keswick people stay in Keswick through the affordable element. This fits in with the Cumberland’s ethos of community involvement and profile.”
Cllr Andrew Lysser, who was county councillor for Keswick, prepares to cut the ribbon to officially open The Hopes shortly before Christmas 2013, watched by guests including residents and KCHT members. “The work that has gone into creating this is phenomenal. I thought the task would be impossible. To see it completed now is exceptional. I don’t think you guys (the trust) will ever comprehend what you have achieved. It is very moving, The Lake District in general is suffering from a lack of genuinely affordable local housing. You can put local occupancy clauses on houses in Keswick but they still cost £250,000 to £300,000 and it doesn’t relate to local housing needs if you are on the minimum wage, which a lot of people are,” said Cllr Lysser.
Lucie Wilson and her children Emma, four, and Holly, six months, after moving into their shared-ownership house at The Hopes. “We were living in a two-bedroom flat up three flights of stairs in Keswick before. I had been dealing with the housing association for more than four years since I was first pregnant about a move to ground floor accommodation but got nowhere. This (The Hopes) is perfect. It is so refreshing that local people who work in Keswick have been given the opportunity to part-buy or rent such fantastic housing. We thought it was impossible. They (the trust) have made affordable housing possible and for people to get on the property ladder. We will be eternally grateful to them,” said Lucie, who lives with her partner Garry.
The Rules of KCHT attempt to secure these properties as truly affordable homes in perpetuity for local people.
Our governing documents and the full Business Plan for the St John’s development are available on request from our Registered Office address.
For photos of The Hopes during development, please see the Gallery page.