New partnership delivers 11 affordable rural homes

Country View development in Lilbourne, Northamptonshire.

Two new rural housing schemes, developed in partnership between Northamptonshire Rural Housing Association (NRHA) and Grand Union Housing Group, have delivered 11 affordable homes in Northamptonshire villages, Lilbourne and Little Addington.

With a common aim to increase the number of quality, affordable homes in Northamptonshire’s rural communities, the combination of Grand Union’s resources and NRHA’s rural expertise has led to an important new working partnership between the two housing providers.

The scheme in Lilbourne provides five much-needed affordable homes, four semi-detached houses and one bungalow. Grand Union’s access to the Homes England’s Affordable Homes Programme secured a £315,000 grant for the development.

The five homes completed in September 2022 and were all available for social rent. And, importantly for the community, they were all allocated to local people with a long-standing connection to Lilbourne, such as Chi Wah, the Pastor at Lilbourne Evangelical Church, his wife Lisa and their three children. The family have wanted to live in the village ever since Chi Wah first became involved with the church back in 2016, so that he could be closer to the parish.

He told us: “To really be part of the community and do the best possible job as the Pastor, being close by is so important. Living in the village is already making a positive difference to my work in the church.  It’s giving me the chance to spend more time getting to know people, I can invite people to my home and I’m around when people need me.”

And the scheme in Little Addington has provided two bungalows for social rent and four houses for shared ownership, again these are all for local people.

Dave Lakin, Director of Development & Commercial at Grand Union, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the progress at Lilbourne and Little Addington, with properties now completed, what was a building site is now a brand-new place to call home.

“At Grand Union, we’re proud to work in partnership with other organisations. We offer our resources to smaller housing providers, like Northants Rural, to help them deliver their aspirations and access Homes England grant through our consortium.

“By building in rural areas, such as Little Addington and Lilbourne, we will ensure there are high-quality, genuinely affordable places for people to call home in the Northamptonshire countryside. The new homes will also help those with long-standing community ties afford to continue living in the area.

“With the majority of these homes being available for social rent, the developments come as part of our strategy to deliver more of this tenure type in our operating region. In the last year we built our highest number of new homes which have been let at social rents for a decade.”

Neil Gilliver, NRHA’s Development Services Manager explained the importance of the partnership: “Partnering with Grand Union on these two projects has been a really positive experience. They share our passion to provide high-quality, rural homes for local people who desperately need affordable options to be able to stay in their communities. We’re proud of these homes and look forward to working together on future rural developments.”