Holly Cottage

8th August 2023 – Update 

Holly Cottage looks great and it seems an appropriate time to try to thank all those who have made the project such a success.

Our Project Team were myself, Steve Holroyd and David Graham.

Steve has put up with me thinking about little else for the past 2 years and always supporting me, as well as inputting his legal knowledge for the purchase, time and effort in all the planning and choosing and putting in plenty of muscle when required.

The project would never have got off the ground without David Graham’s impetus and knowledge about the Public Works Loan Board at the outset. Then despite no longer being a parish councillor he worked with us and provided all his house building experience, technical and local knowledge of tradesmen, as well as plenty of hard physical work from start to finish.

The three of us made a great team and the building works has been completed in 13 months, which if you have tried to get even a small job done these days is pretty amazing. We still have invoices coming in, but are still on track to complete the work within the original budget.

I must thank the PC for sticking to the agreement and allowing me to run the project without micro management, though I have kept David Hewitt informed of any issues along the way. I must particularly thank all the clerks over the past 2 years, Christian, Jayne and Felicity for all the extra work they have had to do throughout the project.

We have used local tradesmen where possible, coordinated by ourselves and our builder Paul Thompson. Paul has a particular interest in renovating old buildings and despite making all the necessary improvements to bring the property up to the required EPC rating of C for rental, Holly Cottage has retained much of its character.

Thanks also go to the many volunteers who have answered call ups for cement and gravel barrowing, garden clearing and planting, house cleaning and all the other work they have so willingly contributed.

In July Holly Cottage was advertised via estate agents, Cumbrian Properties. There was a lot of interest from potential renters from far and wide. We decided to make a cut off for applications after 3 weeks – 24th July.

The PC sub committee met and thoroughly considered all the applications and marked them according to the CRPC Housing Allocation Policy.

The property has now been offered to potential tenants and Cumbrian Properties are currently undertaking the required Financial and Credit checks.


23.05.19 Holly Cottage Open Day Link article

23.2.21 CRPC Housing application form

23.2.21 CRPC Housing Allocation Policy amended

Nov 22 – Latest Update on Holly Cottage progress

1 Aug 22 – Update

Work is progressing and the builder is working closely with building control to ensure compliance and to make sure the property is as energy efficient as possible by maximising insulation. The inside has been stripped out and is now ready for ground floor removal. Work in side did stall for a couple of weeks when a material was found under the ground floor and had to be sent for checking with the asbestos surveyor. Fortunately it was given the all clear and they can now excavate the ground floor to prepare it for installation of insulation and underfloor heating.

The grounds around the property has been dug out to reduce levels. A trench has been dug from the house to the garage for new drains and a conduit for electricity for a light on the drive and potential to install an electric charge point for an electric car. On the outside walls, the perished coating and stone is being scraped off, preparing it for the finish. Scaffolding is going up this week to continue this at first floor level and work on the damp chimney stack. Contractors for further work (electrician, plumber, heating installer etc) have been identified.

9 June 22

Holly Cottage Update – Holly Cottage Update June 22

Parish Council Consultation

26, January 2021.

The Will of the late Ted Relph bequeathed his former home, Holly Cottage, to Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council stating that the home…

‘should be let to some worthy local family applying the rent so received firstly to keep the premises in a reasonable state of repair and any surplus to be used for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish’

Holly Cottage, Crosby Ravensworth. January 2021

Should the Parish Council decide not to accept the bequest then the property will revert to the estate and the other beneficiaries listed in the Will. For the purposes of probate, Holly Cottage has a value of £150k.

The Parish Council has commissioned a detailed condition survey along with an estimate of potential costs from Lewis Conservation. There is considerable work required to bring the property up to a rentable standard and one that meets the legally required Energy Performance Criteria.

As a flavour of the scale of works the property needs repointing, replastering, timber treatment, new kitchen and bathroom, new plumbing and drainage, heating, new electrics, chimneys repaired, asbestos removed etc. The current estimate for the works is £129,000 with a further 12.5% contingency sum of £16,000 for unexpected works. With some additional costs associated with making the property ready for rental the full figure is around £150,000. All the figures exclude VAT as the Parish Council can recover this tax.

The Parish Council can access finance via the Governments Public Works Loan Board which offers funding at extremely competitive rates for terms of up to 50 years. Funding the required £150,000 would cost the Council..

Term  Interest rate  Monthly cost.
30yrs 1.67% £530
35yrs 1.78% £480

The interest rate is fixed for the duration of the loan and payments can be made to reduce the balance at any time with zero charges.

Comparing the above costs to an Estate Agents potential rental value of between £750-£800 per month the loan cost are well covered. The Parish Council could decide to make the rent more affordable and there would still be a healthy surplus.

Parish Councillors at their meeting on 18th January 2021 were unanimous in their support to accept the Bequest and progress the refurbishment.

One of the requirements of the Public Works Loan Board application process is that the Parish Council provides evidence of consultation with the community to further inform its decision to proceed.

To this end we are posting here
Record Photos Jan 2021
Condition Survey,
PC report.

We would be very keen for parishioners to let us know what they think and whether they support the proposals to comment please click here: Holly Cottage Consultation.

Report following consultation with the parishioners can be found here – Holly Cottage Consultation Responses

More details and information can be found at the below links –

Lyvennet Link Article on Holly Cottage

Holly Cottage Garden Link

About Ted Relph.

Ted was a former teacher of Rural Studies & History at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School. He is a lifelong resident of Crosby Ravensworth Parish having been born and brought up in the village. He served in the Border Regiment in WW2.

He was a former Governor and Chairman of Governors of Crosby Ravensworth Primary School and a trustee and treasurer of the Crosby Ravensworth United Schools Foundation. He has acted as committee member and treasurer for the Village Hall. He served as treasurer of the Crosby Ravensworth Relief in Need Charities and also served on Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council including as its Chairman, He was also a Commoner (Fell and Common Land Committee) and a Chairman of Lakeland Dialect Society for 25 years and until his recent passing he acted as  Hon. President. (https://www.lakelanddialectsociety.co.uk

Ted was the author of a history of the Parish ‘Chronicles of Crosby Ravensworth: An Account of a Westmorland Parish from the Earliest Times to the Present’ (pub. 1982. Ravensgill). He transcribed/edited the Rev George Williamson’s diaries and John Mawson’s Longtown Glossary (of border language) and also wrote a history of St Lawrence’s Church with which he maintained a lifelong engagement leading on fundraising for the restoration of the clock and acting as a Church Warden (over the last 40 years). Ted continued to take services until shortly before his passing.

Ted was a was a long-time member and friend of the Lunesdale foxhounds.

Many in the village who knew him when they were youngsters recall being taken up St Lawrence’s to see the workings of the church clock, of him mending their pedal bikes (and many other fettling jobs besides) and for his great knowledge of botany and wildflowers which he inherited from his mother.