Rural Housing Week marked with new development

Housing officer Lindsay Jones enjoys the view from the new homes on Raynham Close, Belford.
Housing officer Lindsay Jones enjoys the view from the new homes on Raynham Close, Belford.

A new £550,000 development of affordable homes has just been completed in a north Northumberland village.

Social landlord Isos has brought the scheme, in Belford, forward, alongside main contractor NB Clark, to provide affordable homes for six families in an area where property is expensive, both to buy and rent.

It highlights the situation faced by many in rural Northumberland, who face having to leave their home area, due to exorbitant housing costs – eight or nine times the average wage, as the National Housing Federation is reporting in Rural Housing Week, which runs until Sunday.

Isos has developed six new homes in Raynham Close – four of them two-bedroomed and the other two with three bedrooms.

Over the past two years Isos has spent £43million adding over 400 homes to its portfolio of 12,000 properties spread throughout the region and is about to start work on the £5million Extra Care housing scheme in Alnwick.

Vince Walsh, development and regeneration manager with Isos, said: “These are our first homes in the village of Belford and demonstrate our commitment to providing social housing in rural areas. The properties benefit from very high levels of insulation – something they will need in north Northumberland – and energy-efficient boilers to help keep household bills in check.”

The homes have been let to local families through the Homefinder system. They are of built of traditional brick and tile construction and meet the Homes and Communities Agency, Secure by Design and Lifetime Homes standards. The latter means they can easily be adapted to meet the changing needs of residents as they get older.

Michael Farr, executive director of property and development with Isos, added: “The UK is simply not building enough homes for those in need, so it’s our responsibility to deliver as many new properties as possible to help tackle the shortage.

“In Rural Housing Week, it’s important to remember the vital role that developments like this one in Belford play in keeping villages alive. In recent years, Isos has delivered schemes like this one across Northumberland – in villages like Falstone, Lesbury, Beadnell and Chatton. They can be the difference between families being able to stay in their communities and being obliged to move away to find a home they can afford.

“We are operating region-wide in both rural and urban communities and would welcome approaches from anyone who has a site where we could build new homes in order to support a healthy pipeline of new projects and bolster our development programme.”

Isos supports both Rural Housing Week and the National Housing Federation’s Yes to Homes campaign, calling for grassroots support to build ‘the right homes, in the right places, at the right price’.