Work has officially started on a pioneering scheme to create much-needed affordable homes for the local community in a Yorkshire Dales village.

The first turf of the Hudswell Community Charity project, to build three modular homes on farmland in the village, had been cut.

The properties add to the three almshouses and three affordable homes the charity has already built to rent to people with a local connection. One of the new homes may be used as an older person’s shared ownership home after enquiries from local people.

Funding for the £685,000 scheme was drawn up using rent from the current six homes, a council grant from the former Richmondshire District Council and a mortgage through the Charity Bank.

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The highly sustainable, insulated modular homes are made by Norscot to withstand the harshest weather, using solar panels for electricity and mechanical heat ventilation systems. Local suppliers and tradespeople will erect and fit them out, bringing in additional income for the local economy.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for housing, Cllr Simon Myers said: "Hudswell is a small village of just 250 people and yet it is leading the way in community-led regeneration schemes to keep local people living and working locally. Affordable housing is often a barrier for them to stay in the village communities they have grown up in and Hudswell is doing what it can to put that right.

"These new homes will be delivered very quickly  and provide work for local people."

Hudswell Community Charity aims to help maintain the village as a sustainable, mixed community, with a growing number of young families, bucking the trend in the Yorkshire Dales where villages are often dominated by holiday and second homes and an increasingly elderly population.

Charity secretary Martin Booth said: "We are building these three new homes because we want to be able to meet the demand for housing from young families and people with special needs, who cannot afford to live here, but have a strong local connection.

"They will be highly adaptable eco-homes, that have low energy costs with high levels of insultation, solar panels, green rooves and infra-red heating systems. They will be ‘smart eco homes’ that are suitable for residents with complex needs.

"A recent report showed in North Yorkshire there is a significant shortage of affordable homes in large parts of the county and an acute housing shortage within the National Parks. The outcome is that rural and remote areas of the county are ageing, and the younger generation is missing out.

"Our housing provision and other activities contribute towards preventing Hudswell from following this trend and the provision of these new homes will greatly contribute towards this ambition."

The Charity Bank’s, regional manager, Jeremy Ince added: "This will be the second loan we have made to the Hudswell Community Charity to help fund the provision of new affordable housing in the village. We are really proud to support such a worthwhile project providing much needed homes for the local community."

 To be eligible residents need to have a local connection, have lived in the parish for at least three years or have a close family member such as a parent or sibling who has. Anyone who wants to return to the parish must have previously lived locally for at least five out of the last ten years and be in permanent employment.

People are also eligible if they need to move to the parish to provide or receive care and support.