believe housing bringing much needed affordable homes to rural community

New homes being built in a rural North Pennines community will provide much needed affordable housing and help to support local services and businesses.

Work on believe housing’s 20 home scheme at Wolsingham, in Weardale, County Durham, is now underway by construction partner Imperator Developments.

Sitting on Durham Road, at the eastern edge of the picturesque village, the homes will be built of coursed sandstone with slate appearance roofs, so they are completely in keeping with the surrounding area.

County Durham based housing association believe housing will make seven two-bed houses and two bungalows available for affordable rent, through the Durham Key Options letting service.

And for people and families struggling to get a foot on the property ladder, 11 three-bed houses will be available under the Rent to Buy scheme which enables customers to pay a lower rate of rent so they can save to buy their home after five years.

Bill Fullen, Chief Executive of believe housing, said: “We are committed to providing the right homes, in the right places and creating thriving communities where people want to live.

“This development may only be for 20 homes, but we think it will have a hugely positive impact on the area.

“It will give more people who want to live and work in this fantastic rural community the opportunity to rent or buy a high-quality home here.

“The new residents will support local amenities, there will be economic benefits during construction and we’re also contributing financially towards open space, school places, biodiversity and footpath improvements.”

When a Durham County Council planning committee unanimously approved the scheme in January 2022, councillors said there was great demand for affordable housing and the scheme’s design was sympathetic to the area.

Durham Council Councillor John Shuttleworth, who represents Weardale and is Cabinet Member for Rural Communities and Highways, visited the site recently to mark the start of work.

Councillor Shuttleworth said: “It is always good to see affordable housing being developed in villages such as Wolsingham.

“It’s important that we support people to remain in our rural communities if we want them to continue to be vibrant places.

“These particular properties have been designed to fit in with the local setting in terms of their design and the materials used, which is crucial for developments like this.”

Jason Wylie, Managing Director of Imperator Developments, in Stanley, County Durham, said: “Imperator Developments are delighted to be starting work on this beautifully designed development of 20 affordable homes in Wolsingham, on behalf of believe housing.

“After a great deal of perseverance over the past couple of years, we can’t wait to get started.

“With locally sourced sandstone walls and slate-style roofing, this will be a stunning development where every resident will be proud to live.

“We haven’t even started but are so excited for the first residents to move in and enjoy the space and quality that we will be providing.”