Background and business case

Oswin Grove consists of 11 homes made up of five three-bedroom and six two-bedroom properties. All homes were allocated to people with a local connection to the village.

The brief was to take an empty, flood-hit former sheltered housing scheme in the centre of the village and transform the site into a new, modern affordable housing scheme, with a particular emphasis on providing more family homes for local people and ensuring a rural community like this remains sustainable.

Prior to Broadaces acquiring the site, Oswin Grove was a sheltered housing scheme which, on several occasions, had been affected by floods which had historically plagued the village. Flood prevention work has been carried out in the village to minimise future impact on the community, but it was still essential that we came up with an engineering solution which meant people living in the new homes would not experience the same problems. As Broadacres is not-for-profit, it meant we could invest more in making the scheme work and the solution we took was raising the new development half a metre above where the original complex (which was demolished as part of the scheme) sat. This involved installing concrete ‘pile’ foundations that went in 14 metres underground, effectively acting as stilts. In addition, we ensured we still had the capability of holding flood water so it wouldn’t be dispersed elsewhere in the village.

Other innovations included installing air source heating at each property. The village does not have a gas connection so heating oil is used and this can be expensive, especially during fluctuations in oil prices. Air source heating is cheaper and forms part of Broadacres’ strategy of ensuring affordable warmth in our rural communities.

Broadacres built 11, two-storey homes around a new courtyard, with parking for each property and a communal gazebo area, including designed BBQ area and play space to encourage the residents to mix and form their own little micro community. As part of the new scheme, Broadacres also built new car parking spaces for people living in bungalows immediately across from the development. These bungalows previously had no parking, so this enhanced the value of their homes.

These houses boast a rich palette of materials including natural copper cladding and stone, offset by hard and soft landscaping to create a modern, high quality, durable environment.

Each development block was conceived as a very specific response to the local vernacular whilst also offering the opportunity to explore new models for contemporary social housing.

The homes all have their own air source heating systems, which convert the ambient air into heat for warm water and central heating. Without this, the homes would have had to have oil tanks and oil boilers, which can be expensive to run and maintain.

The properties all have full height windows to maximise solar gain and the staircases were built to ensure that if people’s needs change in the future, then stairlifts can be easily added without major internal work being needed.

Extra sockets were installed in each home to reflect the needs of a modern family who, as well as needing sockets to plug in white goods and vacuums, also need capacity to charge mobile telephones, tablets and smart speakers etc.

Partners involved

  • Homes England
  • Richmondshire District Council

Commercial developer

  • Esh Group

Programme Costs

Total scheme costs: £1.64 million

Value of Affordable Homes Programme support for scheme: £352,000

Scheme size – 10 units (Social Rent)


The scheme has provided affordable homes for local people in a village where property prices and private rentals are high. It has also revitalised the centre of the village by taking an empty, rundown former sheltered housing scheme prone to flooring and replacing it with a modern, attractive housing development which is still in keeping with the area.

Lessons learnt

Having to engineer a scheme that tackled issues such as flooding, Broadacres is now in a much better position to take on other schemes which others may shy away from due to their complexity. As we are not-for-profit and benefit from grant funding, we are able to look at projects like this with a long-term view, especially as we work towards our vision of becoming the best rural housing provider in the UK.

“The one-bedroom property I was renting privately in the village had become expensive to maintain, plus it was difficult when one of my grandchildren wanted to stay over. I applied for one of the new properties and I was able to choose my house which has amazing views out to countryside at the back which I am able to enjoy from a decking area and garden. I have lived in older properties all my life and never thought I would want to be in a new one, but I can’t see my going back now. I pay only a little bit more in rent each month but for that I have a much bigger house with a guest bedroom and I think I will actually end up saving money on heating as the new house is so much more efficient. It feels like I have died and gone to heaven.”

Irene Nichol, resident

“This is just the sort of development we need to meet the demand for affordable housing and I’m delighted that this is the second such Broadacres scheme I’ve been asked to open in recent months. Finding the appropriate sites in rural areas and developing them is challenging so I congratulate all the parties involved in making this happen.”

Rishi Sunak, Richmond MP

“I am pleased that this former District Council owned site has been re-used for housing. This has helped retain individuals and families within one of the District’s rural communities.  It has been achieved through a strong partnership, which I hope can be repeated in the future on other sites.”

Cllr Yvonne Peacock, Leader of Richmondshire District Council

Future plans

Broadacres has embarked on a programme which will see it build 1,250 new affordable homes over the next few years, ranging from homes for social rent through to shared ownership and in market towns and villages across North Yorkshire.