believe housing’s £70m new homes programme has been awarded top honours in the housing category at the Guardian Public Service Awards.
The 700-home construction scheme won praise from judges in the highly-coveted national awards for its approach to building homes on smaller, brown-field sites. The panel were also impressed by the mix of new houses and how the developments have been targeted to meet demand in many, often rural, communities.
The new-build programme has also now surpassed the rate of ‘right-to-buy’ sales for the first time, ending the slow erosion in the number of affordable homes available to rent in large parts of County Durham.
Chief Executive of believe housing, Bill Fullen, said: “We’re immensely proud that our innovative construction programme has been recognised on such a high-profile and respected stage. The team work incredibly hard to bring new homes to communities that haven’t seen extra affordable homes built for up to 50 years and it is wonderful to see their work recognised.
“We’re not resting on our laurels though. Right now, there’s work underway on sites in Bowburn, Murton and Seaham, we’ll soon be offering homes in Stockton and Ryhope for the first time too.
“We’re always looking for new ways to help more people into a secure and affordable housing association home. The team behind that work thoroughly deserve this accolade.”
Among the communities that have already benefitted from the new homes being created by County Durham-based believe housing is Rookhope. In the tiny North Pennines village, a pair of new bungalows became the first affordable homes to be built in the community for more than five decades. Homes have also been completed in Crook, Pity Me and St Helen Auckland.
The new-build programme, which only commenced in 2017, is already providing 125 extra homes a year, but it is hoped that figure will be nearly doubled to 240 during 2020.