• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

A development project that had local residents up in arms is now uniting a community and fostering new friendships and opportunities for the people of Stanley.

A misunderstanding over plans for The Village – a renovation of the former Stanfield House care home on Joicey Square – united residents in opposition.  But now, after the proposal has been fully explained, they are backing the scheme.

This includes neighbours who, having hardly spoken for years, are now forging new friendships and looking forward to enjoying the community facilities which will be created.

Joan Smith, 60, who lives next door to the development site, said:  “At first we were unsure who the new properties were for and were concerned that they would be given to people not suited to this quiet little corner of Stanley.

“There was a lot of rumour and speculation about the project but once we pushed for more information and realised that the apartments were for private rent – and also heard about the benefits that The Village was to bring to the whole community – most of our fears were put to rest.

“On a personal level, I have gone from effectively keeping myself to myself, to heading up the local residents’ association and the work we have done has brought so many people together. After our initial doubts, we are now excited about the project, feel involved and united as a community and look forward to welcoming our new neighbours.”

The redevelopment is the concept of Positive Directions N.E. (A Community Interest Company – CIC) and is being carried out by Newcastle based All Saints Construction.  It will see the disused building converted into a community hub comprising 14 new studio and single bedroomed apartments for rent, office space, meeting rooms and a training centre, as well as a vintage style tea room.

The Village will offer a different kind of housing provision to Stanley and open opportunities for economic growth through the inclusion of commercial space.

The apartments will be advertised on the open rental market for people that meet the Estate Agent’s letting criteria and an additional informal interview with Positive Directions will also take place.

The training and meeting rooms will be distinct from the apartments and available to the whole community. Training provider, First Point Training, will offer a range of courses, including English, maths, employability, health and social care, hospitality and a bespoke ‘Positive 4 People’ course aimed at building confidence and helping the long term unemployed back into work.

Mandy English-Jones is Chief Executive Officer with Positive Directions N.E.  Her team has been working with local residents for the last 18 months and she said:  “A number of exciting community engagement initiatives are already planned, one of which is the design of our vintage style tea room.  We hope this will not just serve the people of Stanley but also visitors from further afield.

“There will be a garden and growing area for residents to relax and hone their horticultural skills and our meeting rooms will offer spaces for family functions, just yards from the local church.  The Village will also offer local people a host of activities – including yoga and mindfulness classes.

“This building could quite easily have been demolished and replaced with houses for sale but instead, we are developing something which will benefit the whole community.”

All Saints companies are part of The High Street Group, which was established by successful entrepreneur Gary Forrest in 2004 and has grown to become a leading financial and property group.  It employs over 50 people and activities include financial claims, property development and developer finance.

Keith McDougall, Director with All Saints Developments, said: “This renovation will bring a number of benefits to Stanley and we are delighted to be involved.  The Village will provide affordable, private rental accommodation and office space close to the centre of the town which will boost the local economy as well as creating a fantastic resource that will bring people together and enhance the lives of both existing and new residents.” 

For more information, visit www.thehighstreetgroup.com

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