Residents in Seahouses, Northumberland, have marked a momentous occasion and a new chapter for local affordable housing tenants as they move into their newly-built Bernicia homes.

Bernicia, a leading social housing provider in the North East, has handed over the keys to nine new homes, including six bungalows which replace old and poorly insulated wooden houses in James Street. Three new two-bedroomed homes have also been built in the town’s Stone Close.

Construction of the properties started in May 2019 and was completed by Bernicia’s in-house build team.  One of the first tenants to receive the keys is Ann Athey.  

Ann said: “I’m overjoyed that moving day is nearly here. My new home has everything where I need it and it’s much more accessible than where I live now.  Getting a new house built can seem like a daunting thing to do but Bernicia has provided a brilliant service and been really supportive, making the whole process really easy. I just can’t wait to get settled in.”

John Johnston, chief executive at Bernicia, said: “A key priority for us is to provide quality new houses where people are proud to live and it’s fantastic to see how happy our tenants are with their new homes.

“The original houses on the site were unsuitable for modern living and the outdated heating systems were very expensive to run. We’ve replaced them with brand new buildings that are energy efficient, providing homes that make quality of life affordable and that are enjoyable to live in.”

John Holmes, chair of Bernicia, added: “Bernicia is very much about innovation and this project presented a unique challenge in that there was no mains gas supply to Seahouses. Using underfloor air source technology to overcome this, our in-house construction team has done a fantastic job to provide high quality affordable homes.”

The design of the three two-bedroom houses and six one-bedroom bungalows was led by HMH Architects while CK21 filled the engineer’s role, with Hall & Partners as quantity surveyors and the client’s representative.  Presmac from Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the mechanical services contractor responsible for the design and installation of the heating systems.