Housing association Karbon Homes is about to start work on a new £6m development of 36 affordable family homes in Greatham, near Hartlepool.

Karbon is working with main contractor Gus Robinson Developments on the project, supported by funding from Homes England, building on a site on Station Road at the southern edge of the village. Work will begin later this month with completion expected in early 2021.

The development is a mix of Rent to Buy, Affordable Rent and Shared Ownership homes.

The new homes have been designed to blend seamlessly into the character of the historic village, where the core is covered by a conservation area, and the village design guide sets out how buildings should look, and the materials which are permitted. Karbon’s site sits just outside the conservation area.

The exterior of the new homes will be traditional brick in appearance, with render on the upper storeys, and each home will feature a six panel front door, providing a high quality environment for the new residents, and ensuring full compliance with the design guide for Greatham.

For the interior structure of the new homes, Karbon and Gus Robinson will be using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) – a modern method of construction which combines concrete and foam insulation to build houses more rapidly than being built entirely from traditional bricks and mortar.

Residents in the 29 Rent to Buy homes will only need to pay 80% of the local market rent for their homes, with an option to buy the home outright after five years.

Rent to Buy is aimed at people who would like to buy a property but who currently don’t have enough savings to cover a deposit, allowing residents to rent before they buy.

Residents are assessed to see if they can afford to initially rent the property, with the longer term aim to buy the home.

As rents are set at 80% of market rents, this offers residents the opportunity to put the 20% saving towards a deposit. They also have the option to buy on a shared ownership basis after 12 months.

Lea Smith, development manager for Karbon Homes, said: “We are excited to get started with this new development for Greatham.

“We have an excellent site, and we know there is demand locally for high quality affordable homes.

“Using ICF technology will ensure we make rapid progress on site and deliver the development on schedule and on budget.”

Karen Anderson, from Homes England, said: “Homes England is keen to work with ambitious partners like Karbon Homes, who are accelerating the delivery of homes through modern methods of construction and providing more choice in the market.

“These high quality, aspirational homes will be a great first step on the housing ladder for people who can’t afford to buy their own home yet, but are in work and saving towards one. I am looking forward to visiting the site and seeing the modern construction method for myself.”

Steve Bell, managing director of Gus Robinson Developments, said: “This is a very exciting project to be involved in with Karbon Homes.  We are using a new and modern method of construction, utilising a highly energy efficient system of concrete construction wrapped within polystyrene insulation.

“The homes are being built close to the historic conservation area of Greatham Village, and Karbon wanted to take design cues and precedents from the village to create a development of high design quality. The project design team worked closely with Hartlepool Borough Council planners and the conservation officer to create a place where I am sure local people from Hartlepool will feel proud to live.”