Edward Steel’s Cumbria Holme House Farm Is No Dale Farm: It’s Not Ethnic Enough And It’s Too Far From London
THE 15 homes made from recycled static caravans on Edward Steel’s Holme House Farm near Kendal in Cumbria have to be demolished. They do not have planning permission. Mr Steele tried to get it retrospectively, but was denied. Nineteen people still live in the homes. But they have to go.
In 2010, a public inquiry was held. Lawyers for South Lakeland District Council branded the place a “ramshackle hamlet“.
Said Mr Steel:
“I don’t want to evict people, to make them homeless, especially for Christmas. I will be putting a revised plan in. I don’t know what they’re [South Lakeland District Council] going to do, but I’ve got from now till end of March to reinstate all this ground, so all they can do is evict the tenants.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Thornton explains the council’s argument:
“This occupation has never actually applied for planning permission at all. As a council we now have to take this into consideration. What was an unauthorised occupation now today, when the enforcement notice runs out, becomes an illegal occupation.The bulldozer scenario is an absolute last resort and we will do anything to avoid that. We’ve got to talk to the people who are occupying these lodges, who are now occupying illegally, which makes a big difference.”
Before rushing to judgement know that the area has a cute housing shortage. The Westmoreland Gazette reports:
ONE of the biggest issues facing South Lakeland over the past 20 years or so has been the severe shortage of houses local people can afford to buy. House prices soared during the 1980s and 1990s and as more and more properties were snapped up as second homes, it became increasingly difficult for young people, in particular, to get their foot on the property ladder. People who had grown up in the district have been forced to move to other areas, such as Lancaster, or even further afield, where homes are cheaper.
There are no easy answers but one housing scheme at Coniston could serve as a beacon for others to follow. In the village, where there is a huge need for rental accommodation, the whole community has got together to help create 14 new homes.
A meeting six years ago attended by 28 young people who wanted to stay in the village prompted the community to work together to try to find a solution.
Local people worked with Eden Housing Scheme on design issues and on ways they could contribute to the development’s upkeep. The tenants have agreed to look after the communal grounds themselves – reducing work for the association and the cost for residents. Meanwhile funding and support has come from a variety of bodies, including SLDC, the Homes and Communities Agency, Coniston and Torver Housing Group, Coniston Parochial Parish Council, the Lake District National Park Authority and Mitre Housing Association.
So. Should the homes remain? And why has this not been in the mainstream media? Is it because, as the Anoraks say, travellers are not involved, as they are at Dale Farm, and Cumbria is not as close to London as Essex…?