Building work starts on Northumberland village development

Front row, from left, Caryn Innes, Four Housing's development and regeneration manager (north), Dawn Keightley, group director of operations at Four Housing, and Coun Anthony Murray at the Hordonside ground-breaking ceremony.
Front row, from left, Caryn Innes, Four Housing's development and regeneration manager (north), Dawn Keightley, group director of operations at Four Housing, and Coun Anthony Murray at the Hordonside ground-breaking ceremony.

A not-for-profit housing provider celebrated the start of building work in a north Northumberland village this week, at a site where a sheltered housing unit was controversially closed.

Horsdonside, in Wooler, was closed in 2012, to the dismay of the community, but Wednesday’s ground-breaking ceremony by Four Housing marked a new era for the site.

The development will feature eight two-bedroom houses and six two-bedroom bungalows. All 14 properties will be energy-efficient and built to Life Time Homes – a design standard which allows flexible living and will help to meet the needs of customers at different stages of their lives. The bungalows also include dementia-friendly design features to support those suffering from dementia and help them to continue living independently in their own homes.

Commenting on the ceremony, Caryn Innes, Four Housing’s development & regeneration manager (north), said: “This project has been in the planning and development stage for some time and the official ground-breaking ceremony marks an important milestone for everyone involved.

“The scheme represents a £1.9million investment into the area, which has been part funded with a £420,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency. When complete, the new homes will be available for affordable rent and allocated through Northumberland Homefinder.”

Speaking on the investment in Wooler, Dawn Keightley, group director of operations at four housing, said: “In the current financial climate in the social-housing sector, it is critical we invest capital resources prudently and build houses that provide flexible living and futureproof the needs of our customers and housing stock.

“Four Housing currently owns and manage 200 houses in Wooler and the new homes will compliment the profile of our 5,000 existing housing stock across the North East which provides a range of housing options for people in housing need.

“We have worked extensively with our partners, stakeholders and community during the key stages of this project. We’d like to thank everyone involved who took the time to attend public meetings and share their thoughts with us. When complete, the new homes will be a positive addition to the community.”

Neil Cawson, senior area manager from the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this scheme as it will provide much-needed rural homes. The design and adaptability of these new homes will allow the changing needs of residents to be met in the future and avoid the need to move home as an individuals’ circumstances change. It really is great news that Four Housing is committed not just to delivering quality homes for their customers, but also to the wider Wooler community.”

Four Housing has appointed Northumberland-based contractor NB Clark Ltd to build the new homes and works are estimated to be complete in autumn 2016.