Bolton (Eden District Council)

Introduction
Location

Bolton is in the administrative district of Eden District Council, 10 miles south-east of Penrith and the M6 (junction 40), along the A66 to Appleby in Westmorland. The village is accessed via B roads.

Demographics
The village of Bolton is in the parish of Bolton and in 1995 had a population of about 337 in 135 households. (i)

Case study
The case study in Bolton was on Stephenson’s Croft, a development of six bungalows for the retired owned by Mitre Housing Association.

Profile of the Village
1. Important attributes for residents living in Bolton

  • 63% said they liked living in Bolton because of the scenery and the peace and quiet.
  • 75% listed the community as being important.

2. Services available in the village
Bolton has a few services. These include a small post office, selling some basic groceries; a few guest houses; a pub; a garage and two schools. The village hall organises a variety of activities for the community.

  • 100% of the respondents used the post office and saw it as an important service for the village

3. School

  • Bolton has one nursery school.
  • Bolton also has a community infant and junior primary school for mixed pupils aged 4-11 years.

‘This is a good school with a very supportive family atmosphere that is valued by parents.’

The details from the June 2002 OFSTED inspection report:

  • There are 34 children on the school roll.
  • The average number of pupils per qualified teacher is 14.8.
  • The average class size is 17.
  • The quality of the teaching ranged from satisfactory to very good.
  • The curriculum is of a good range and quality.
  • The provision for special needs was good.
  • Parental views were very positive and supportive.
  • The nearest Secondary schools are in Appleby-in-Westmorland and Penrith.
  • Only eight or nine of the pupils are from Bolton.

As Stephenson’s Croft is an elderly persons’ development, the development had no effect on the school.

 

4. Police and fire

  • The village has been allocated a community police officer and it is patrolled daily.
  • A mobile police station visits once a month.
  • The nearest main police station is in Appleby.
  • The nearest fire station is in Penrith; this is staffed part-time.

 

5. Transport

  • There is a bus service to Penrith and Langwathby
  • 96% of the residents in Bolton have one car or more.
  • The nearest railway stations are in Appleby and Penrith.

 

6. Local employment

  • Local employment opportunities in Bolton are limited to Eden Grove School, local garages and two or three farms.
  • Penrith and Appleby are popular employment centres for residents in Bolton.

 

7. Weekly average incomes
Cumbria Rural Housing Trust’s Rural Housing Strategy details weekly average incomes in Eden district based on an average of figures available from Cumbria County Council, New Earnings Survey and the Office of National Statistics. Averages were used as figures varied greatly: this information should therefore be used only for illustrative purpose.

District

Gross Weekly IncomeWeekly IncomeLow PayHigh PayAverage annual Salary
Eden£250.00205.00148.50554.00£13,000
*Note: Disposable income = 19% deducted from gross to take into account tax, NI and pension contributions

Employees on an average income would therefore require 8.5 times their annual salary to buy an average-priced house on the open market.

8. The cost of a bag of shopping
Local prices are compared with those in a nearby town-based supermarket.

  • Bread
  • Milk 1 pint
  • Eggs (6)
  • Beans (435g)
  • Tea (80-100bags)
  • Coffee (100g)
  • Toilet Rolls (4)
  • Butter (250g)

Total £7.19 @ Bolton, £5.05 @ Safeway, Penrith.

Current housing provision in Bolton
1. Case study – Stephenson’s Croft

  • Mitre Housing Association development.
  • Six two-bedroom bungalows.
  • Three were completed in 1988.
  • Three were completed in 1994.
  • Eden District Council has 50% nomination rights.
  • It has been 18 months to 2 years since any properties became vacant.
  • The rents are not restructured rents.
  • The development has Council Tax A banding (£772.47).
  • There is no Section 106 restricting occupancy on the properties.

Type of accommodation

Rent (per week)Service charge (per week)
6 x 2-bed bungalows£48 - £52£3.38 - £4.10
 

2. Other registered social landlord provision

  • Eden Housing Association transferred its housing stock from Eden District Council in 1997 and had two houses in Bolton from this period.
  • One house has been sold through the Right to Buy since 1 April 2001 at an average value of £44,000 after discount from an average valuation of £70,000.
  • In total four properties have been lost through the Right to Buy.
  • Two Castles Housing Association has a scheme of flats for rent.
  • Eden Housing Association reports a waiting list of 24 applicants for two and three-bedroom houses in Bolton.

3. Council Tax banding

Eden District Council reported that the majority of properties in RSL ownership would be band A, B or C. Council Tax bandings  for Bolton are as follows;

Council Band A£772.47
Council Band B£901.21
Council Band C£1,029.96
Council Band D£1,158.70

 

4. Housing market prices (Jan-March 2003) (iii)

Detached£170,279
Semi-Detached£91,472
Terraced£85,166
Flat£81,083
Average House Price£112,754

Key statistics

  • 7% of total housing stock is rented social housing..
  • 36% of social landlord properties have been lost through the Right to Buy. This figure includes social landlord stock where Right to Acquire does not apply.
  • The 1991 Census records four properties or 3% where accommodation is not used as a main residence. (iv)
  • The ratio of affordable housing to non-permanent-residence homes is 2:1.

1. Case study return rate
There was a 33% response rate from the case-study questionnaire.

2. Reasons for residents accepting a tenancy
The development is mainly for elderly people, so all the responses were from retired people who had wanted more suitable accommodation and to be nearer their family.

3. Employment
All respondents were retired.

Case study planning details: ref no: (91/07/10)
1. Housing need

Evidence of housing need was supplied by Eden District Council at the time of the planning application.

2. Timescale for permission
Application date: 23.09.91 Decision date: 16.01.92. The actual time to receive planning approval was four months.

3. Planning policy at the time of development
Eden District Council did not have a local plan at the time of this application, so there were no set policies under which applications were considered, other than good design, density, etc.

Eden District Council did not operate a village development boundary system, so any development in a village was treated according to its merits and its proximity to the existing structures in the village.

This planning application initially sought approval to develop two detached houses for the landowner and a terrace of three bungalows for the housing association. This application was deferred. An amended proposal for one detached house and a terrace of three homes was recommended for refusal by the planning case officer, but approved by planning committee.

4. Opposition and support to the scheme
The Parish Council raised no objections to the proposals but made several observations about access to the site and the requirement that the bungalows should be for local people. The highways department’s views of the development are not known. An adjacent owner was the only other known source of opposition. The grounds for opposition were: loss of view, reduced privacy and a source of noise and disturbance, all resulting in a drop in property value.

Importance and impact of affordable housing in Bolton

  • There was little impact on the services from the development.
  • There were more negative attitudes towards non-residents who had come to retire in the village and the new private developments being built.
  • The majority of respondents had no problem with the development.
  • Affordable housing developments were judged as important for the community.
  • Local service providers agreed that affordable housing is necessary for the village and their services, since young families are leaving because of the high house prices. The school naturally needs children to attend, and unless suitable and affordable housing is available numbers will drop and the school will suffer.
  • In addition, service providers and other respondents said that new private developments were not the answer for a sustainable village, as the people who can afford these prices are usually retired or second home owners. In addition they will tend to shop in the bigger stores or bring their own supplies, and will not need to use the school.

‘The private houses are sold for vast amounts and families can’t afford these prices.’
‘Those who own second and holiday homes don’t necessarily use the local services.’

Parish council views
The Parish Council widely accepted the conclusion given about Bolton and supported the concern of respondents for the village’s future regarding the increase in private developments and the consequences of this for the young, who cannot afford high prices.

‘I wouldn’t have minded if it (private developments) had been for the locals and families.’

Conclusion
Bolton has many small village charms about it and these are important to its sustainability. These include its obvious sense of community, its location, its intimate size and the presence of the shop and school.

It is suggested that Bolton is a sustainable village. However, several concerns about its future need to be addressed. Bolton makes a popular place for a second home and a place to retire. This is causing house prices to rise and it appears that young local families are finding it increasingly hard to afford to buy a home, so they are moving away. This is supported by evidence from the school, which told us that only eight or nine children were from the village itself. New private developments, which are at present being built, are not the answer as they will not attract the local person on an average wage. Young families are important to a balanced community and its sustainability, especially when the school plays such an integral part in it. Stephenson’s Croft meets the needs of the retired, it helps those living there to be near family. It needs to be ensured that Bolton is not forgotten and does not become a retirement village and that there is always affordable housing available when there is a need. This is especially important if young moving away starts causing a major impact on the sustainability of the village. Evidence would suggest a need for more low-cost home ownership accommodation to enable these young families to remain in the village.

Sources:
i Cumbria County Council 1997 Local Profiles, www.cumbria.gov.uk - Office for National Statistics, Information and Intelligence 1997
ii Cumbria County Council 1997 Local Profiles, www.cumbria.gov.uk
iii Land Registry www.landregistry.gov.uk and upmystreet.com
iv www.nationalstatistics.gov.uk