Ukrainian families sheltered as we unveil 8 new council houses

Derbyshire Dales District Council has added further to its council housing programme with eight new affordable homes unveiled this week in Tansley - three of which are currently sheltering refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

All eight homes in Fern Close are part of a brand new development on the edge of the village. Six are social rent properties - all occupied - and the other two are shared ownership, one of which is under offer.

The District Council is using the government's Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) to provide the accommodation for the Ukrainian families, who arrived in the UK via resettlement and relocation schemes. The £2-million government grant means the council can buy 18 homes this year to be used initially by refugees - and the three in Tansley are among 10 bought so far.

In 2002 the District Council transferred all its former council housing stock to Dales Housing Association – but is now continuing to work with housing associations such as NCHA - who will manage the Tansley properties - to enable more affordable housing in the district while delivering its own council homes.

The council's housing stock number has risen to 24, with properties across the Dales in Ashbourne, Darley Dale, Monyash, Over Haddon and now Tansley.

Civic Chair Councillor David Burton cut the ribbon on Wednesday to officially unveil the Tansley properties at an event attended by council officers and Matlock district councillors Steve Flitter, Martin Burfoot, Sue Burfoot, David Hughes, Joanne Linthwaite and deputy Civic Chair Councillor Peter Slack.

two of the new council homes in fern close

Director of Housing Rob Cogings said:

"This scheme represents a great investment for the District Council. The eight new homes not only provide much needed affordable housing, they also help meet the needs both of local people and Ukrainian refugee families. The rent from the homes is also a new income stream, helping to support the council’s budget.”

Three years ago councillors voted unanimously to re-start council housing. Initially the authority has identified developing and owning 52 council homes, the majority for affordable rent.

Council Leader Councillor Flitter, whose ward includes Tansley, said at Wednesday's event:

"Adding these properties to the council's portfolio is very good news because we are providing homes for people who need them now and in the future. Credit goes to the council and its officers for taking this project forward from the decision in 2020 to re-start our council housing programme.

"While the 'affordable' description always sparks debate, we ensure our properties are available at lower than the market rent - and that's the important factor."

New residents Max and Julia lived in Mariupol, where 22,000 civilians died as Russian military launched a full scale invasion, attacking power and water supplies, destroying half of all apartment blocks as well as 69 schools and colleges and 15 medical institutions. A city of half a million people is today down to 120,000 and remains under the Kremlin's control.

max, julia and baby maria

Said Max:

"We wake up and war. We didn't have much food or water and there was a lot of shooting. This went on for months. We were just sitting at home, looking for food and protecting our family.

"One day my daughter looked out of the window and saw Russian soldiers near our house. We didn't like that situation, so we left the city. Sometimes we slept in the car and sometimes in people's homes in different countries. It's been a long journey."

Max and Julia have three daughters. Sofia and Anya are studying at the local school and baby Maria is just four months old. Max, who is getting work locally as a self-employed builder, added:

"The girls like it here and it's a very good area. We are safe. We don't worry about life here, so it's fine. The house is fantastic - we are very happy about this. The United Kingdom has been very helpful for Ukrainian families."

The vital homes being provided in Tansley for Max and Julia and their family, fellow Ukrainians and local people nearly didn’t happen. The District Council originally had a bid accepted for the Tansley properties a year ago, but the developer subsequently chose another provider, which later pulled out.

Rob Cogings added:

"The developer came back to us asking if we would reinstate our bid, essentially to save the scheme.

"Our housing team made specific recommendations when this went through planning about the floor area of the homes and these were taken up by the developer. It means the floor areas are a good size and give people with often the least choice more living space, so supporting children learning at home and promoting healthy lifestyles.

"Using grants provided by government, our in-house support service has been working with the tenants to provide fixtures and fittings that have helped people move into the homes. This has also benefited several local businesses."

the spacious living and dining area

Claudine Edwards, Development and New Business Manager at NCHA, said:

“We are delighted to have completed on these new homes for Derbyshire Dales District Council and to be working together to increase affordable homes in the district. It’s great to see these homes helping the local community and Ukrainian refugees.”

fern close rear 700px

fern close sign


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