A MIDDLE-aged married couple have finally got on the housing ladder after paying out rent for the past 30 years.

Jeniffer and Andrew Pooley have managed to secure a mortgage on a shared ownership property in Dulverton.

“After so many years of renting we didn’t think that shared ownership would be available to us, especially not somewhere as beautiful as Dulverton. We feel so lucky to be so near our two grown up sons who live locally, with enough room in our new detached three bed home to have our grandchildren over to stay,” said Jeniffer.

“The whole process of shared ownership was really smooth, it might seem unusual at our age to be going to the bank for a first mortgage but for us it was the right time and when we could afford it and we are over the moon with taking that leap.

"We are loving having extra room for our dog who is enjoying the garden. We can walk into the town within 10 minutes but are in such a quiet rural location.”

Jeniffer has two jobs, working at a local car sales room as a receptionist and as a secretary for a friendly society, while Andrew works for a local removals company.

The couple, who had lived in Crediton for the past 10 years, jumped at the chance when the LiveWest shared ownership homes in Barnes Close Mead were advertised.

The development features 18 affordable homes – six for shared ownership, six for social rent and six for affordable rent.

Sally Bryant, senior development manager for LiveWest, said: ““We are extremely pleased to have offered these beautifully presented homes to local people. This development comprises of one, two and three-bedroom homes to accommodate a range of family sizes.

“A few features of this development include Air Source heating system, contemporary looking exterior all situated within a scenic location, not far from Tarr Steps in Exmoor National Park.

“It has been great to see this stunning scheme come together and we hope the residents moving into these properties will be extremely happy here.”

Air Source heat pumps are designed to draw air from outside and convert it into heat which transfers to radiators inside the property.

They are generally cheaper to run, better for the environment and do not need any fuel storage.

The development benefitted from grant-funding from government housing agency Homes England and LiveWest worked closely alongside Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and Exmoor National Park Authority to develop the site and support those applying for a home under the National Park’s local occupancy tie policy.

Cllr Fran Smith, executive member for housing at SWT, said: “Affordable housing is vital for the survival of our rural communities and forms a key part of our corporate strategy to increase the number of affordable and social homes in our urban towns, rural and coastal communities.

“This superb development has enabled local people from Dulverton and surrounding villages to stay in the area in well-built and economical properties that will remain affordable into the future."

Steven Pugsley, chairman of planning at Exmoor National Park Authority, said: "Congratulations to the occupants of these new homes, who we hope will find much happiness in being able to stay living locally in one of the country’s finest rural landscapes.

“The generally higher cost of housing in national parks can put a squeeze on people being able to live near work and family. To help, our planning policies are geared to ensure new affordable housing is built where we know the need is greatest, with an appropriate amount ringfenced for local people.

“Thanks to grant funding from Somerset West and Taunton Council, we’re also fortunate to now have a dedicated rural housing enabler working in the Somerset part of the National Park to achieve a pipeline of new affordable homes and support custom and self-builders locally.

“We hope this will lead to more successful partnerships like this one with Live West and Somerset West and Taunton, to help deliver quality, affordable homes exactly where they are needed.”

David Coombes, operations manager for developer Woofenden Construction, said: “As a family run business based in a small rural village, we understand the importance of providing both affordable and quality accommodation for families.

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with LiveWest to deliver a project of this nature.

“The idea of providing quality, sustainable & affordable housing in areas such as Dulverton is an excellent example of what can be achieved.

“Working in Exmoor National Park has been a tremendous pleasure and I hope the new residents appreciate the beautiful surrounds as much as we did.”