Local housing provider, Tyne Housing has kick started its development programme by converting an empty care home in Blaydon into seven, high quality homes for affordable rent.

Built in 1935 and in a prominent position in the town, Clifford House on Lucy Street in Blaydon was previously home to the Department of Health and Social Security before being converted into a care home. Tyne Housing purchased the building and is carrying out modification works, which is supported by a grant of £175,000 from Homes England.

The £700,000 refurbishment works will see the building transformed into one and two bedroom apartments, designed around the building’s historic features, with the aim of preserving the character of the building and streetscape around.

The works will include a full electrical re-wire, installation of new a heating system, new windows and doors, damp proofing and installation of a video entry system. Each spacious apartment will include lounge/dining area, kitchen and bathroom and residents will have access to a private garden.

Works are being carried out by Blaydon-based company DJM Mechanical, working in partnership with Black & White Construction and is scheduled to be completed by February 2019.

Graham Brown, Chairman of Tyne Housing, said: “We’re excited to be leading this windfall development, providing more opportunities for people to live in high quality rented accommodation. Our aim is to create unique, high specification homes that people can afford and want to live in. The apartments once finished will be comfortable and characterful, with access to a private garden for residents to enjoy. The development is an ideal location with excellent transportation links so these homes should appeal to a vast majority of people.

“This is our first scheme as a Homes England Investment Partner, which we secured in 2017. Homes England investment has helped make the scheme viable and preserve a high profile local building. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with them.”

Karen Anderson, Specialist (Home Ownership and Supply) at Homes England, said: “It is great to see Clifford House being transformed to provide much needed, good quality affordable homes for people to rent in Blaydon, especially so close to the town centre.  It is an excellent example of what working in partnership with local contractors, supporting the local economy can achieve. Homes England is committed to working with partners who understand the needs of their local community and are striving to build the homes that people want, where they want to live.”

Cllr John Adams, Cabinet Member for the Economy at Gateshead Council, said: “I welcome this development in the heart of Blaydon Conservation Area. It is good to see empty buildings brought back into use so that they enhance the local area, rather than detract from it. As an authority, it is important for us to see the pace of house building accelerate so that local people have more choice and I welcome this investment.”

Dave McGough of DJM Mechanical, said: “We’re really pleased to have been appointed to carry out the works to this wonderful building. As a local company, we have appointed fifteen local tradespeople to help deliver this project which will benefit the local community and economy. We hope this will be the first of many refurbishment and new build projects we deliver in partnership with Tyne Housing.”