Cumbria awarded over £1 million to ensure quality of rented homes improves

Areas in Cumbria have been awarded over £1 million funding for a pilot project to improve housing stock in the area.

Council areas in Eden, South Lakeland and Barrow – soon to become Westmorland and Furness Council - will benefit from the UK Government funding, announced last week.

Eden District Council has been successful in a bid to the UK Government to develop a pilot project that looks at improving private rented housing, through improved guidance, enforcement and testing of new approaches to drive up property standards. Eden led on the bid, with Barrow and South Lakeland also benefiting, as the three authorities are soon to join as Westmorland and Furness Council.

Eden was amongst seven areas chosen across the country, as the district has a number of older properties that are difficult to insulate and heat, and a larger than usual proportion of homes are off gas grid.

Approximately 55% of all Eden homes have no access to mains gas and approximately 18% of homes in Eden are rented. It is hoped that the funding boost will improve living quality for these tenants, combating excess cold and its effects on the health and well-being of young and old.

The Council intends to use the initial 3 year programme of funding to provide help and support to both tenants and Landlords, and to use inspection and enforcement where necessary.

A Council spokesperson said,

"Across Cumbria housing officers have a very good reputation for working together, achieving positive results and sharing knowledge. 

"Eden District Council’s Housing team has already successfully obtained funding and is ongoing in delivering improvements to the energy efficiency of low income households, and we are a partner in the Sustainable Warmth Cumbria scheme.

"The project will run until the end of March 2025, and it is hoped that the findings and learning from it, will be useful to the other areas of the new Westmorland and Furness unitary Council, and further afield.”

Cllr Judith Derbyshire, Housing and Health Portfolio Holder at Eden District Council, added, "I am delighted that the Council has been successful in obtaining the funding for this project to help improve tenants’ living conditions in our area."