Residents move into new affordable homes in Northumberland village

Northumberland County Councils head of housing, Phil Soderquest; Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for housing; Louise and Lee Stanfield with their daughter Megan.
Northumberland County Councils head of housing, Phil Soderquest; Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for housing; Louise and Lee Stanfield with their daughter Megan.

Residents have now moved into an affordable-housing scheme in Shilbottle, which was developed by the county council.

It has provided 20 affordable homes for local people, including Louise and Lee Stanfield and their daughter Megan, who have lived in Shilbottle for seven years and were one of the first to be handed keys to their new three-bedroom home.

The family had been living in private rented accommodation, but the owner wanted to sell the property so they had to vacate it at short notice.

They applied to rent one of the new properties through the county’s Homefinder register and were delighted to find out their application had been successful.

Louise, who is originally from Swarland, said: “When we had to vacate the house we had been living in, we were really keen to stay in the village. We have so many friends here and Megan attends the local first school, so we really didn’t want to uproot her.

“It was a great relief to find out our application for a home had been successful. We had to decamp to a friend’s house for eight weeks while the house was being completed but we moved in last month and have settled in really well.”

She added: “We feel very lucky to now have a home we feel secure in. We have been very unlucky with private rents with the landlord in more than one property over the last few years either wanting the house back for themselves or wanting to sell it.

“Now we have a fabulous, brand-new home where we can finally settle and fill it full of wonderful memories. This can potentially be our forever home.”

“Our new neighbours are great. I’ve met them all and we are currently planning a street party so that we all get to know each other a bit better.”

Northumberland County Council has placed a strong emphasis on building new council homes. Last year, it completed 48 homes in Dandsfield Square, in Amble, and, this year, it has completed 16 in Embleton and 20 in Shilbottle creating 84 new homes for rent in north Northumberland.

Coun Allan Hepple, the county council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest issues facing the people of Northumberland and is a particular problem in some rural communities.

“This is a fantastic housing scheme and will make a real different to the lives of those who are now living there. The properties are of varying sizes with options for the elderly, for families and for single people which will really add to the vibrancy of the community.”

The scheme comprises four one-bedroom apartments, four two-bedroom bungalows, eight two-bedroom houses and four three-bedroom houses.