Work has started on a £3.5 million scheme to transform the site of a former public swimming pool into 24 affordable homes for older people.

Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) is building the two-bedroom bungalows at the old Belle Vue Swim Centre on Ashlands Road, Consett, which was demolished in 2016.

Along with its development partner Karbon Homes, contractor Surgo Construction and Homes England, which is providing a grant of just over £1 million towards the cost of the scheme, DAMHA is working towards a completion date of January 2020 for the new homes.

It forms part of DAMHA’s ongoing development programme, which will see a total of 61 new two-bedroom bungalows built in the Durham Coalfield area over the next few years.

Paul Mullis, DAMHA Chief Executive. said: “We are delighted to have started work on our latest affordable housing scheme in County Durham.

“There is a real shortage of high-quality two-bedroom bungalows for older people in the County, so like our other schemes, this development scheme will help to meet the need for homes of this type.

“2019 and 2020 are going to be busy years for DAMHA as we embark on one of the busiest development programmes in our history, with a scheme in Houghton-le-Spring being completed later this year and another scheme in Philadelphia in the pipeline.

“As well as providing homes for older people, we are also proud to be playing our part in helping to regenerate former coalfield communities in the region.”

Lea Smith, Development Manager for Karbon Homes, said: “We are glad to be working with DAMHA to bring this important scheme forward. There is an established need for bungalows in the area, and these high quality homes will help to meet that need.”

Homes England quote: Karen Anderson, Homes England said: “Homes England is really pleased to be supporting this development of quality affordable bungalows close to the town centre. It is great to see DAMHA showing ambition and increasing its development programme, providing homes that meet the needs of the communities they work in.”

The demolition of Belle Vue Swim Centre got underway in April 2016 following the closure of the facility in summer the year before. Durham County Council earmarked for housing to form part of the funding package required for the new multi-million-pound academy and leisure centre. The school and sports centre now stand on the former offices of Derwentside District Council and Belle Vue Leisure Centre.