A bid to build hundreds of new homes for affordable rent across Darlington has scooped the honours in a national awards scheme.

Darlington Borough Council’s new-build programme has already seen more than 200 homes, including both houses and apartments, designed and built and there are plans for 100 more properties each year for the next ten years.

It was one of only six finalists shortlisted earlier this year for the Best Social Housing Initiative in The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards 2019 and was revealed as the winner at a ceremony in London yesterday (Wednesday).

The initiative, led by the council’s own in-house team, has been a partnership project involving contractors, Healthy New Towns, Homes and Communities Agency, occupational therapy, the tenants’ customer panel and local communities.

Councillor Lorraine Tostevin, Cabinet member for housing at Darlington Borough Council, said:

“We were keen to build more affordable homes for rent to meet the needs of local people and our vision was to build strong and balanced communities, making sure properties are available for working families as well as older people and those in most need.

“Our new properties have been very popular, with demand for all the developments far outstrip supply, and we’re thrilled that its success and the hard work of all those involved has been recognised at a national level through these awards.”

Heather Jameson, The MJ’s editor, said:

“Huge congratulations to Darlington on winning The MJ Award for Best Social Housing Initiative. Our judges had a tough task selecting the best from a strong field of candidates, but this authority is a worthy winner.

“It may be a small authority, but Darlington has big ambitions when it comes to delivering housing and s a great example of what can be achieved.”

Work is currently underway on three more sites at McMullen Road, Fenby Avenue and Wordsworth Road where a range of properties, including apartments and three and four-bedroom houses, should be ready for tenants to move in later this year.

Visit www.darlington.gov.uk/housing to find out more about council properties available to rent.

For more details about The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards visit awards.themj.co.uk

Photo caption L-R: Dean Morris- Management Officer; Anthony Sandys – Head of Housing and Revenue Services; Veruta Barlow- Housing Services Manager; Alistair Jackson – Construction Manager; Pauline Mitchell – Assistant Director- Housing and Building Services; Chris Pallister- Quantity Surveyor and Mike Chapman- Head of Building services