Horsdonside scheme on schedule

Charlie Penny, site manager for Clark Homes, and Keith Wilkinson, clerk of works at Four Housing, at the Horsdonside development.
Charlie Penny, site manager for Clark Homes, and Keith Wilkinson, clerk of works at Four Housing, at the Horsdonside development.

A housing development in Wooler has reached a major milestone in the construction programme with the ‘topping off’ of the first structure.

Contractor Clark Homes has placed the last truss on top of the first of eight two-bedroom houses and six two-bedroom bungalows being developed at Horsdonside on behalf of not-for-profit housing provider Four Housing.

The affordable housing scheme comprises 14 properties which are being built to Life Time Home standards; a design specification which allows flexible living and will help to meet the needs of customers at different stages of their lives.

The £1.9million scheme, which is on schedule for completion in autumn 2016, is creating opportunities for local people with 12 Clark Homes operatives involved in the build, including an apprentice from S Telfer Fencing which was appointed as a direct result of the contract.

Several local sub-contractors have also been engaged in the work and plans are progressing to involve Northumberland College construction students in work placement opportunities at the site.

The scheme has also involved training opportunities with a number of courses including Health and Safety Training and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Skills Cards being delivered to operatives.

Ian Cuthbertson, contracts manager at Clark Homes, said: “We are delighted with how the work is progressing on site at Horsdonside having completed the topping off of the first structure on schedule.

“As a local contractor, we are delighted to be working on behalf of Four Housing to develop this innovative housing scheme which has secured work for many of our operatives and enabled us to add to the team with a new apprentice.

“We’re keen that other local young people benefit from the work being undertaken on the development and we will shortly be welcoming students from Northumberland College to undertake work placements on the site.”

The Horsdonside development has been part-funded by 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. The homes incorporate dementia-friendly design features.

Caryn Innes, Four Housing’s development and regeneration manager (north), said: “The topping off of the first structure at Horsdonside marks an important milestone for the development, which is progressing really well.

“We’re delighted to have provided an opportunity for local contractor Clark Homes and are pleased to see the wider employment and training opportunities that have been presented as a result of the scheme. There are a number of challenges and difficulties building new homes in rural Northumberland. However, by working in partnership with a local contractor to deliver this scheme, we can help to sustain local labour, suppliers and to create a social value, which benefits Wooler and the wider Northumberland area.

“Four Housing currently own and manage 200 houses in Wooler, and the new homes will be a great addition to the local community. They will complement the profile of our 5,000 existing housing stock across the North East.”