Home > announcements, housing > Homes plan for Durham villages (From The Northern Echo)

Homes plan for Durham villages (From The Northern Echo)

PLANS to build nearly 40 affordable homes for older people on two former sheltered housing units have won cross-party support.

The Vela Group wants to build 38 apartments and bungalows on the sites of Oversteads House, in Ushaw Moor, and Brandon House, in Brandon.

On Wednesday, Durham County Council’s cabinet agreed to hand over the two plots free of charge.

The sites are thought to be worth a total of £285,000. However, transferring them at ‘nil value’ allows the project to access £1.3m from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Roberta Blackman-Woods, Labour MP for Durham City, said: “I am very pleased that after many years of campaigning on behalf of residents of Oversteads House in Ushaw Moor and Brandon House and their local communities that at last the county council is bringing forward plans to develop the two sites and provide much-needed local affordable housing.”

Councillor Clive Robson, the Labour-led council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “This is very good news and fulfils our commitment to re-provide, that we gave when we closed Oversteads and Brandon.

“The need for affordable housing far outweighs the money we could receive by the sale of the land.”

Coun Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said it was an innovative scheme and good use of the land.

Alan Napier, the council’s deputy leader, said: “When anything is removed – a service, a facility or someone’s abode – the alternative provision must be better. I think that will be the case when this development comes to its conclusion.

“It’s a win, win, win, win, win scenario.”

John Wilkinson, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Deerness Valley, said Oversteads House would never have met modern standards and he was delighted at the proposals.

“We need affordable housing in which our older people really want to live. I believe this would fit that purpose,” he said.

The two 1970s-built sheltered housing units closed in November 2010, despite outcry from their remaining 26 elderly residents.

Vela Group wants to build 20 apartments and two bungalows in Brandon and 16 apartments in Ushaw Moor.

The firm is expected to submit a detailed planning application by April.

via Homes plan for Durham villages (From The Northern Echo).

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