ARCHITECTS from across the world are being invited to come with a design for ‘innovative homes’ on a council owned site on the edge of Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

A joint competition between the Great Place: Lakes and Dales programme - which seeks to encourage younger people and families to stay and live in the Dales and Lakes - and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) has been launched in the hope it will attract the best of possible solutions.

The winning design will need to be aimed at younger people and will have to fit in with its surroundings; but judges are not looking for boring ‘boxes’. In addition, any design will have to be approved by the planning authority - the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The winning design for the piece of land, which is just under a quarter of an acre - almost the size of four tennis courts - could then be replicated and used again at other sites in the Dales, when and if they become available.

Richard Dowson, consultant with Great Place: Lakes and Dales, said: We are looking for exciting and cutting edge designs and a greater offer for younger generations.

“It’s about housing that will appeal to returners and young people already living in the area. Affordability and innovation are key strands to the concept.”

The Horton site, on Ribblehead Road, is part of a piece of land owned by Craven District Council. It lies at the northern end of the village, which is the nearest village to Penyghent and is the traditional starting point for those climbing the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Its primary school closed in 2017, despite strong opposition from villagers, councillors and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Mr Dowson said the hope was to attract something different, that both fitted in with the character of the area, but was anything but standard.

“We definitely don’t want boring boxes,” he said. “ Successful entries will be interesting and attractive to younger generations and professionals. By holding a RIBA competition we can attract architects and designers who may not have previously thought about housing in a rural context, as well as those who are experienced at designing homes in a countryside setting.”

The council has initially been looking at providing four affordable homes on the site, made up of two, two bedroom properties, and two three bedroom. The council classes ‘affordable’ as £147,000 for a two to three bedroom home.

Councillor Richard Foster, leader of Craven District Council, welcomed the competition.

“We’re really enthused to see the ideas put forward for this competition. We know we need to provide more affordable housing in the Dales, particularly for young people, and with creative design we can ensure this also has a positive impact on our stunning countryside.”

The RIBA competition will run for five months, with a shortlist of three for the Horton site expected to be finalised around 10 weeks into the process. Finalists will be given an honorarium of £4,000 to work up their ideas.

The competition is looking to attract architects from around the world who can bring new innovative thinking to flexible housing which will appeal to young people and draw them to the area. Although the area economy is relatively strong, like many rural areas it suffers from an outward migration of young people. It has 44 per cent fewer 16-34-year olds than the national average - raising significant concerns regarding its future economic and community resilience.

The shortlisted designs will be published on the Great Place website when people - and the national park - will be able to make comments.

It will then be up to a panel of judges, made up of local authority officers, design experts, a RIBA agent and landowners.The include designer Wayne Hemingway, Nathan Cornish, of Urban Splash; David Smurthwaite, strategic manager at Craven District Council , and Sasha Bhavan of the RIBA.

Lindsey Hebden, programme manager for GPLD, said: “This is a real opportunity to contribute to the housing future in our beautiful Lakes and Dales and we are excited to see what new ideas and ground breaking ideas might emerge. Our research has shown that perceptions around housing is the single biggest infrastructure issue which affects young people’s ability to live and work in the Lakes and Dales and we need to respond creatively to meet their aspirations whilst respecting the environment and rural landscapes.”

The competition is part of a joint local authority initiative - the attracting younger people to Craven action plan. It sets out a range of objectives and has a set of actions relating to housing, better jobs, community services and the promotion of the Dales.

It also includes an assessment, carried out by Craven Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the national park, of the scale of population and infrastructure needed to retain viable primary schools.

Full details of the competition can be seen on RIBA’s competition website: