One of the biggest social housing developments for decades in a County Durham market town has been completed by a leading north east housing association.
A mix of wheelchair adaptable bungalows and family homes have been constructed on a vacant, brownfield site by social landlord, County Durham Housing Group. The new homes in West End Villas, just a short distance from the town centre, are part of a £54m construction programme stretching from rural Weardale to the Durham coast.
The site in Crook is the programme’s largest to date. In total 545 new affordable homes are being constructed on 20 sites by 2021. Construction passed the 100 homes mark late last year.
The £4.2m project in West End Villas was designed to meet demand for affordable housing in the Crook area. It includes 14 two-bedroomed bungalows, a pair of three-bedroomed bungalows, 14 two-bedroomed houses and four three-bedroomed houses.
Construction was carried out by Galliford Try Partnerships North, which provided £1,258,000 towards the cost from the 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme grant funding it secured from Homes England.
Completion has been phased, with the last homes officially handed over today (Friday, 25 January) at a small event also attended by local councillors and residents.
County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “We all know that the whole country needs to build more affordable homes, and that’s true in Crook just as it is elsewhere. This development is solid proof that we are working hard to deliver exactly the homes that communities in County Durham need.
“For us it’s not just about the raw numbers though; it’s vital we build the right homes in the right places. That’s why we’re building homes, like the wheelchair adaptable bungalows, that the private sector is simply not geared up to provide.
“It’s been great to see the finished site and meet some of the tenants who are already settling in to their new homes.”
Phil Hunter, Commercial Director with Galliford Try Partnerships North, added: “One of our core aims is to improve the quality and choice of homes for people across the North East, so we were delighted to have been selected to support the County Durham Housing Group in delivering these much-needed properties.”
County Durham Housing Group Board Chair, Judith Common, said: “It’d be easy to focus purely on the bricks and mortar of these excellent new houses. But it’s important to remember that each of these houses has been created to provide a high quality and affordable home for local people that will support them for years to come.”
Cllr Anne Reed, said: “I’m really grateful that the needs of local people have been considered so much on this site. The new bungalows are exactly what was needed, particularly the adapted ones for wheelchair users. I’m sure the tenants will be more than happy with the quality of home that they will be moving into.
“This site has been vacant since the 1980s and the development has really transformed the area.”
As well as the Crook development, tenants have already settled in to new County Durham Housing Group homes in Ouston, Houghton-le-Spring, Bishop Auckland, Ushaw Moor, Newton Aycliffe, Rookhope, St Helen Auckland, Pity Me and Durham. Work on four other sites, in Peterlee, Seaham, Bowburn and Bishop Auckland, is well underway.
County Durham Housing Group is also investing heavily in its 18,500 existing affordable homes, with a 10-year £138m programme of improvements.