North East Connected

New Home Sparks Proposal for Sunderland Couple

A NEWLY engaged couple have taken their first steps onto the property ladder after falling for their dream home at Scholars Gate in Houghton-le-Spring.

Jill Holyoak, 36, and Chris Blyth, 33, eagerly anticipated the launch of the development by Miller Homes and upon visiting the sales office and showhome on its opening weekend, found the perfect family home for them and their daughters Abbie and Emily.

Life-changing moments weren’t to end there, as during the same weekend following reserving their new home, Chris proposed to Jill at local landmark Penshaw Monument, which is located near to the development.

The couple set their sights on Scholars Gate as the development is on the former site of Shiney Row College, which both Jill and Chris attended. Being close to family as well as having convenient access to key commuting roads for journeys to work were also bonuses which the development offered.

They decided that The Stretton housetype, a three-bedroom home ideally suited to family living, was just right for them, and as first time buyers, were able to take advantage of the Government-backed Help to Buy* scheme.

A Help to Buy Equity Loan offers assistance for buyers who only have a deposit of 5% through the provision of a 20% equity loan from the Government for those who meet the qualifying criteria, meaning buyers only need to secure a 75% mortgage from a provider.

Jill, who works as a fitness instructor, said: “Chris and I were keen to buy a home of our own and were really excited when we became aware that Miller Homes was building on the former site of Shiney Row College, as it’s a fantastic location and we both have such great memories of the area from our time at the college.

“Before the launch weekend we visited other Miller Homes developments in the region and were so impressed with the quality and styles of the homes available. We knew then that a Miller home would be the one for us and were so pleased to find exactly what we had been looking for in our ideal location at Scholars Gate.

“Whilst visiting the development Miller Homes sales adviser Jackie was really helpful and made us aware that as first time buyers we were eligible to use the Help to Buy* scheme. This really helped us to be in a position to buy and move in much sooner than we thought, which was welcome news as we both lived with our parents whilst saving for our deposit. The welcome news didn’t end there as Chris and I got engaged not far from where our new home would be built which was amazing.

“We enjoyed watching our home grow as it was in the build stages and were so excited to get the keys and move in. We have felt supported by Miller Homes throughout each stage of our home buying journey which as first time buyers was very helpful. As a family we’re really happy in our new home and now that we’ve moved in, I can’t wait to start wedding planning!”

Andrew Somerville, regional sales manager at Miller Homes North East, added: “Jill and Chris wanted to find their dream first home which was both close to their families, as well as located within easy reach of their routes for travelling to and from work.

“It’s great to see that our Scholars Gate development offered the couple exactly what they were looking for, and that taking advantage of the Help to Buy* scheme meant they were able to buy and move in sooner than they thought. We are really pleased to have been able to support Jill and Chris and I wish them luck with their wedding planning.”

Scholars Gate currently offers buyers a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes, with prices starting from £148,950**. For more information on this new development from Miller Homes, contact the sales office on 03300 372 602 or visit

Disclaimer: *Help to Buy loans are provided by the Government’s Homes & Community Agency (HCA) and are secured over your new home. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT.

**Upgrades available at additional costs.

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