A £150 million regeneration initiative, which has contributed to economic and social revival across County Durham, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month.
And to mark the occasion, the Durham Villages Regeneration Company (DVRC) has announced plans to develop its 37th site – at Middlestone Moor, just outside Spennymoor.
Since being created in 1996, the award winning* partnership has created over 1,400 homes, provided jobs and training for hundreds of people and contributed many £millions in support of councils’ community services and initiatives.
As well as providing homes for families in County Durham communities, the scheme has also added to the local economy and provided a valuable boost to local businesses.
The partnership between Durham County Council and developer Keepmoat, was among the UK’s first public / private joint ventures – set up to unlock the value of council assets and provide affordable homes for local communities.
The original partners were Durham City Council, Durham Aged Miners Housing Association, Three Rivers Housing Association and regeneration specialist – Keepmoat. Following local government reorganisation in 2009, Durham County Council has been the public sector partner.
To date, of the 1400 homes completed, around 25% have been for affordable rent. Of those sold, almost half have been to first time buyers and nearly 80% were bought by people living within 10 miles of the development.
Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and chair of DVRC, said: “This initiative has brought major benefits to County Durham, not least building homes for local families. As well as investing in the local economy, creating jobs and providing apprenticeships and training opportunities, it’s also resulted in millions of pounds being spent on community facilities.”
Although construction is at the heart of the initiative, Keepmoat understands that bricks and mortar are only part of the regeneration process. By enhancing the environments in which it operates, supporting community initiatives and providing training and real jobs for local people, it is helping to change lives for the better.
Says Managing Director of Keepmoat Homes North East, Richard Bass: “The DVRC partnership has allowed the council to unlock the potential of land and property assets and support ongoing economic and social revival. The authorities have provided assets – mainly in the form of land and property, at full market value – and we develop them, creating mainly affordable homes for sale. Profits, after tax, are shared equally.
“Meanwhile, in partnership with established registered social housing providers, we build further homes for shared ownership or rent. This really is a major success story in delivering housing led regeneration, providing much needed new homes and the added benefits that this provides. Here’s looking forward to the next 20 years.”
DVRC is currently building a range of homes for sale and rent at sites in Bowburn, Newton Aycliffe and Sherburn Hill and further sites around the county are under consideration.