Broadacres tenant hosts Chancellor of the Exchequer Rushi Sunak during tour of rural affordable housing

Home in Welbury (Demo)

RICHMOND MP – and new Chancellor of the Exchequer – Rishi Sunak recently paid a visit to one of his constituent’s homes to see how a local housing association is helping to sustain village communities by keeping them affordable.

Sunak visited two homes in the village of Welbury, near Northallerton, in North Yorkshire, both of which are owned by Broadacres Housing Association. During the visit, he was granted a tour of the home of Sharon Adcock, who recently moved into the property.

When the two semi-detached properties became empty last year, Broadacres was faced with having to make what it said was a significant investment to bring them up to modern standards.

One option was to sell the properties to a private developer/landlord so the money could be re-invested elsewhere. However, this would have meant there would no longer be any affordable rented homes in Welbury.

So, instead, Broadacres decided on a “radical change” of approach.

The homes both underwent a major refurbishment, including full rewiring, cavity clearance and the installation of new kitchens, but even more importantly they were fitted with more energy efficient air source heating systems. These absorb heat from the outside air to heat radiators in the properties.

The installation of the air source heating forms part of Broadacres’ affordable warmth strategy, which is resulting in expensive-to-run heating systems at hundreds of its existing homes being replaced by more energy efficient, cheaper heating.

Adcock moved into the one of the properties in Welburn with her husband and their two children. She works for DEFRA and is home-based.

She welcomed Broadacres’ guests – which includes National Housing Federation (NHF) chief executive, Kate Henderson – into her home to show them around the work that had been done.

“We were living in Northallerton but were seeking to move to a more rural environment. We put our names on the waiting list and were delighted when we were offered one of the properties in Welbury,” Adcock said.

“The new heating systems means the house always feels warm and it’s nice to know that it’s more environmentally friendly, and a lot cheaper, than having oil-fired heating.

“We’ve also got superfast broadband, which is important to me as I work from home, and the village generally has a real sense of community. We couldn’t be happier.”

Gail Teasdale, chief executive of Broadacres, said: “As part of its corporate strategy, Broadacres is continuing to build new affordable homes across our operating area of North Yorkshire.

“But we also realise the importance of ensuring our existing homes continue to be safe secure and warm. Our customers told us that keeping warm in their homes is a major problem particularly with rising energy bills.

“Our affordable warmth programme is addressing this and involves a range of measures including heating upgrades, insulation improvements and window and door replacements.

“At Welbury we saw the opportunity to redevelop the last two affordable homes in this lovely village, make them more energy efficient and ensure rural communities like this are sustained for future generations.”

Rishi Sunak said: “Sustainable rural communities depend on having a range of property available – including homes for rent like these in Welbury which are also, thanks to Broadacres’ green investment, affordable to run too.”

NHF chief Kate Henderson added: “Broadacres’ work is a great example of the positive impact housing associations have on their residents’ lives.

“By improving the energy efficiency of their homes, Broadacres are reducing tenants’ fuel bills, helping tackle climate change and investing in vital skills.

“What’s more, by providing affordable homes, housing associations play a vital role in keeping communities alive, especially in rural areas.”


Main Image: Rishi Sunak MP presents Sharon Adcock with some moving-in flowers with Kate Henderson (left), Gail Teasdale (right) and Broadacres’ chairman Colin Wilkie.


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