Work is now underway on new affordable rent homes in County Durham, suited to the needs of an ageing population and those with mobility problems. 

The Heathers will see 31 modern, two bedroomed bungalows constructed in the Durham hamlet, Hamsteels – located between Lanchester and Esh Winning. They will be delivered by Prince Bishops Homes, the development arm of Derwentside Homes.

“Despite a need for housing designed to enhance the standard of living for older or vulnerable people, fewer brand new bungalows are being built – which is a worrying trend,” says Moya Jones, Development Director with the company; “High market demand for land can make it very difficult to construct bungalows in a way that is viable, which often leads to developers looking for alternative options. 

“Here, Prince Bishops Homes is bucking this trend to deliver affordable, varied and sustainable housing as well as a range of support options for our new tenants.”

In addition to delivering the new homes, the developer has also agreed to undertake works to improve the access road to the village and the road in front of the village hall and neighbouring shops.

Durham County Councillor and also Chair of Cornsay Parish Council, Barbara Armstrong, attended the ground breaking ceremony – accompanied by her husband Cllr Joe Armstrong. She said: “Both councils have been developing facilities on the Hamsteels Estate ever since the primary school – that previously occupied the new development site – closed. We have established a brand new community centre and are pleased that Prince Bishops Homes is building bespoke bungalows for older people and those with disabilities.

“We are also delighted to be working in partnership with the developers to enhance the local environment and to improve the entrance to the estate and the area around the village shops. While we were disappointed to lose the primary school, the new bungalows are beautifully designed and will enable residents to stay in their own homes and remain part of our thriving community for longer.” 

All of the bungalows will have both a bath and walk in shower and will be well insulated and energy efficient. Many will have lounges with bi-fold or patio doors providing access to private gardens and all will offer good levels of storage space, essential for those looking to downsize from a larger property.  

Homes will be linked – via telephone line – to Derwentside Homes’ Sure Livin emergency out of hours service, designed to offer additional support to older persons and those with mobility problems. 

Homes at The Heathers will be made available under the Homes and Communities Agency’s affordable housing programme for affordable rent, via Durham Key Choice Options. To discuss availability, people can contact Lee Dobson at Derwentside Homes on 01207 521100. 

Prince Bishops Homes is currently active on 10 sites across the region. A recent £29.5m grant from the HCA has bolstered plans to invest over £100m in to the construction of new homes by 2019, which will help to deliver a further 17 developments across the region.

The company offers a range of flexible housing solutions including providing homes for outright sale, offering assistance to customers who want to use the Government’s Help to Buy equity loan schemes and through innovative rent to buy initiatives. 

For more information about The Heathers or Prince Bishops Homes, visit: www.princebishopshomes.co.uk

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