A unique housing development, providing much needed council homes, increasingly in demand in Gateshead, received unanimous approval from the borough’s planning committee today (December 9th).

The new housing development, in Wrekenton, will comprise four bungalows, 12 apartments and 28 two and three bedroomed homes, all designed to meet particular housing needs of Gateshead’s residents.

The new apartments and bungalows will be made available to people with particular housing needs, enabling some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents to access a home that promotes their wellbeing and helps them to thrive, and giving them access to a specially designed sensory garden.

The 28 two and three bedroomed homes will all be made available for affordable rent or shared ownership, providing additional, varied and high-quality housing choices for people in the area.

The development is being constructed by Gateshead Regeneration Partnership (GRP), a joint venture involving Gateshead Council, Vistry Partnerships North East and housing provider, Home Group.

In addition to providing much needed accommodation, the project will boost the local economy with at least a quarter of the contract value being spent with local sub-contractors and on local labour.

This will include six apprenticeships, providing work for two previously unemployed people, work experience opportunities and an initiative to reach out to young people interested in construction careers, via school visits and community engagement.

Christine Curran, Development Director for GRP, said: “We are delighted to receive planning consent for this project which will increase both housing availability and options for people in Gateshead. A lot of thought and care has gone into the design process to ensure that the needs of a wide cross section of Gateshead residents have been catered for.  I’m sure these new homes will prove a popular choice with local people.

Councillor John Adams, responsible for Housing at the council, said : “This new project in Wrekenton, will help us provide a supply of new council homes that meet current and future needs and enable some of our most vulnerable residents to access housing that specifically caters to their needs and supports their health and wellbeing. GRP already has a track record of building attractive, spacious and energy efficient homes across the borough and we look forward to seeing these exciting new plans come to fruition.”

The Wrekenton scheme, for which final planning permission will follow once public consultation ends next week, is part of a £350 million project being driven by GRP.  It aims to create around 2,000 new homes on 16 sites across the borough.  Construction of the first phase of sites comprising 309 homes – in Saltwell, Deckham and Birtley – is virtually completed, with all the homes meeting the Lifetime Standard benchmark.

Work on the second phase is underway at Kelvin Grove, Saltwell, a selection of 46 family homes for private sale and six for affordable rent; Gibside Chase, Rowlands Gill, a development of 23 properties for sale; and St. Albans, in Windy Nook, where a further 39 homes are available for sale. Properties at all three developments are being sold by Linden Homes.

When this second phase – of which this new Wrekenton scheme is part – is completed in 2022, GRP will have developed 761 properties, with around 25% made available for shared ownership or affordable rent.

Sean Egan, Managing Director with Vistry Partnerships North East, said: “This project is a perfect example of how construction can help build communities and not just homes, by creating accommodation for those I most need and providing stimulation for the local economy through investment in jobs, training and suppliers.”

*Picture caption: How the entrance to the development will look.