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North Star brings life back into a West Auckland area that had been derelict for almost a decade

Local housing association, North Star Housing Group, is building 25 new homes near Bishop Auckland.

To mark the start of this exciting regeneration project North Star and Gus Robinson Developments were joined on site by Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland and Cllr Kevin Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing and Assets at Durham County Council.

Staff outside a new development site in West Auckland, Teesdale.

The site, in West Auckland, brings life back into an area that had been derelict for almost a decade. Planning permission was achieved in March 2018 and after a period of site preparation, demolition was completed on a disused care home, which had stood empty since 2010, to make way for new affordable housing.

Local MP, Helen Goodman, said: “I have been involved in these plans from the beginning, so I was very pleased to visit the site today and see the work so far. We need good quality social housing in this area, especially bungalows which are always in demand. When it’s all finished, there should be some great homes here – hopefully nice and warm ones too!”

Cllr Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for Strategic Housing and Assets, said: “The development of the Green removes an area of blight from the local community and will see it transformed with 25 new homes available for affordable rent. This delivers on both of our towns and village’s regeneration and our new housing strategy which is now out for consultation and shows our commitment to our communities by putting people first.”

Emma Speight, Executive Director of Assets and Growth for North Star, said: “We are delighted that construction work is underway at The Green, West Auckland, in our latest scheme to deliver affordable housing in the Teesdale area. The neglected site had been a huge concern for locals over recent years, and we are pleased to be able to regenerate the area and provide affordable housing, including much needed bungalows, for the local community.

“The site is surrounded by existing dwellings fronting the village green, which is part of the West Auckland conservation area, and terraces in Arnold Street and Station Road.  It is hoped that the new homes will integrate well within the location providing good quality, energy efficient rented accommodation in the centre of the village.  All the properties will have gardens and parking provision. We look forward to welcoming our first tenants later this year.”

North Star is a group of housing associations, including Teesdale Housing Association, operating across the North East and North Yorkshire, building and renting high quality affordable housing to meet a variety of needs, including specialist supported housing. The group is committed to creating homes and building futures as well as investing in people at every level.

The £3.3m project will receive nearly £1m of grant support from Homes England to enable the properties to be let at Affordable Rents.

Helen Fielding, Senior Delivery Manager for Homes England, said: “It’s great to see the new homes starting at West Auckland. At Homes England, we are tasked with making more homes happen for everyone, so we are very pleased to support our partners North Star to help make the homes affordable for local people.”

North Star teamed up with contractor Gus Robinson Developments to develop the new homes, which comprise of a mix of two and three bedroom family homes and two bedroom bungalows.

Stephen Bell, Managing Director of Gus Robinson Developments, said “We are delighted to once again be working in partnership with North Star Housing Group to deliver much needed affordable homes.  As a local contractor, we aim to improve the quality and choice of homes for people across the North East.  The Gus Robinson team identified this site as one with potential to help North Star meet their developments programme.  The Gus Robinson design team then went to work creating a development which would fit nicely into the conservation area.  Works are progressing well now and are on target for completion later in 2019.”

Gus Robinson is a national Building Contractor who provide a range of construction and building services.