New South Lakeland Flats Completed At Lake District Housing Scheme

The Lake District workshop of a renowned Arts and Crafts furniture maker has been transformed into three extra-care flats for older people, with help from South Lakeland District Council.

The careful conversion of Craft Cottage brings up to 22 the number of homes run by the Gatesbield Quaker Housing Association in Windermere.

Pictured outside Craft Cottage at Windermere are, from left, David Le Mare, Trustee of Gatesbield Quaker Housing Association; SLDC Deputy Leader Cllr Jonathan Brook; and Julie Jackson, Principal Specialist (People) at SLDC.

With the first tenant due to move in this week, the 1920s workshop and showroom of furniture maker Stanley Webb Davies has been transformed into three light, spacious properties – two fully wheelchair-accessible flats on the ground floor, and a first-floor flat.

Funding partners include SLDC, which awarded £90,000 from its Community-Led Housing scheme; Cumbria County Council, which gave £90,000 match funding; and the Swarthmoor Area Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), which gave £95,000.

There were also several generous private donors.

The new flats will contribute towards SLDC’s targets of 1,000 new affordable homes to rent, and 300 more extra-care homes, by 2025.

Cllr Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader of SLDC and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Innovation, said: “It is always great to see new affordable homes being opened in the heart of local communities, with support from SLDC. These three exceptional new homes will help provide much-needed extra-care accommodation. They are a brilliant addition to the Gatesbield housing scheme in Windermere.”

David Le Mare, Trustee of Gatesbield Quaker Housing Association, said: “With the completion of the conversion of Craft Cottage we are delighted to be able to offer three new flats for rent to local people. The Board of Management would like to record its thanks to those who, through their generous donations and grants, have made this possible.”

The traditional stone and slate-roofed exterior of Craft Cottage has been preserved, with the interior remodelled into three modern, purpose-designed flats by Crosby Granger Architects of Kendal.

The spacious flats are designed to be easily managed, and the two ground-floor properties are fully accessible for wheelchair users.

Original windows have been conserved where possible, as well as a slate fireplace in one of the kitchens.

Heritage-style oak front doors complete the characterful look, and raised beds for home-grown fruit and vegetables are being added nearby.

A scheme manager lives on site and Gatesbield provides its own out-of-hours on-call team for emergencies. Tenants can enjoy hot cooked lunches in the main Arts and Crafts-style house, built by Stanley Webb Davies and his wife Emily, a talented woodcarver, in 1926.

There is also a shared common room with social distancing measures in place, a laundry room and two acres of tranquil, accessible woodland garden.

The renowned furniture maker died in 1978 and he bequeathed Gatesbield to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to provide housing for older people, regardless of their faith, who would benefit from a supportive environment while keeping their independence. According to his wishes, 19 flats were built in the secluded grounds off New Road, close to Windermere village.

Examples of his Arts and Crafts carved wooden furniture can be seen at locations such as Blackwell, near Windermere, and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as in the reception at Gatesbield.

To enquire about tenancies at Gatesbield, call 015394 45578 or visit the Gatesbield website.

To apply for affordable rented homes across South Lakeland, register your details with Cumbria Choice.

For more on low-cost home ownership, call SLDC on 01539 733333 or email affordablehousing@southlakeland.gov.uk.