Bernicia today welcomed Sunderland City Council’s decision to sell land at the former Southwick Primary School site allowing 38 new affordable homes to be built there.

The North East housing association intends to purchase the land and build new, high quality homes on the site for affordable rent and shared ownership, to meet local housing need.

The properties will comprise eight bungalows as well as a mixture of 30 two, three and four bedroom houses, all with private gardens and parking for residents.

Michael Farr, Bernicia Executive Director of Assets and Growth, said: “Our aim is to deliver the quality, well designed new homes local people need and deserve at rents and purchase prices they can afford.

“We know this is an important location in Southwick with real significance to the local community. There is a strong demand from local people for high quality homes to be built there.

“Our homes will be ideal for a range of people looking to rent or purchase including young families, older people looking to downsize as well as first-time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder.

“We own 1,450 properties in Sunderland and have 50 years’ experience of successfully working with people and communities to deliver houses people are proud to call home.

“We look forward to working in partnership with Sunderland City Council on this important scheme.”

Councillor Stuart Porthouse, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “This council, like many others up and down the country, recognises that there’s a major shortage of new homes, and especially affordable homes for sale and for rent.

“The former school site has been vacant for some time and our Cabinet meeting has now backed and welcomed Bernicia’s plan to purchase this land and develop it with housing.

“Building more new and affordable homes is one of the most important priorities for our city.”

Some of the homes at the former school site will be available for shared ownership, meaning purchasers buy part of the property and rent the rest from Bernicia.

This increases their chance of obtaining a mortgage, at a manageable rate, with the option of buying the remainder of their home at a later date.

Bernicia has received a grant from Homes England to develop the scheme.

Most of the trees on the land will be retained with a green open space being moved to the east of the site to allow development to take place.

Bernicia is working towards submitting a planning application in Spring.