Cumbrian Fights To Buy Back Keswick To Help With Local Social Housing Issues

One Cumbrian is attempting to ‘buy back’ Keswick and fight against more holiday homes, second homes and absentee landlords in the area.

Chinty owner of Chinty’s, a coffee shop in Keswick, has start a campaign to Buy Back Keswick after the building the business is in came up for sale.

Having survived Covid-19 and all the issues that brought for the business Chinty seemed to be onto a good thing making it to over two years.

“We started our business 1 month before Covid.” Chinty said. “We got through Covid by adapting and even won an award.

“We seemed to be building a sustainable business. Then discovered that the building in which our cafe is based is being sold.”

This is nothing new for businesses that rent shop space, the landlord puts the building up for sale and a new one takes over.

It wasn’t this that motivated Chinty to start the campaign: “We saw properties being sold super fast during lockdown and since, and knowing that the 4 long term let flats above our shop would without-question be turned into holiday lets made me cross.”

The building is on the market for £825,000 and so far £65,000 has been raised from the start date of April 22.

If successful the property will be used for the local population with the four flats and shops rented to local people, when they become available.

This is not just an issue in Cumbria research by the CPRE The Countryside Charity published in January 2022 found nationally that short term letting had increased by 1000% with 176,000 families on the waiting list for social housing in 2015-2021.

In rural locations such as the Lake District, the borough of South Lakeland a 1231% increase was seen during 2016-2020, the properties used could have homed about half of those on the social housing list.

While this is a downside to the second home and holiday home issue, Cumbria Community Foundation started The Cumbria Home from Home Fund to bring some funds back to the community.

On the funds page it says: “Cumbria and the Lake District is a world-class visitor destination and yet this beautiful landscape with its rich cultural heritage is also disguising the fact that many people living in our county are experiencing extreme poverty and hardship at levels normally associated with large urban areas.”

The Cumbria Home from Home Fund asks for those who make their homes available to rent donate one weeks rent with the funds generated then going back into the community.

For anyone wanting to donate or looking for more information click Here.

Chinty thinks it is time for the community to take back the town and that the idea could work in other places as well saying: “I went to school here, I was brought up here. My kids go to Keswick School.

“I think that this is the time to stop our towns being sold for profit, we need to preserve them and save them and buy them back collectively, 800+ people could help me buy this building and this could be the start of a fight back to save our Cumbrian towns, could work across the whole of the UK.”

Anyone looking to donate is to email Chinty at chintyt@gmail.com