UNPRECEDENTED SPEED: Rapid sign off for new homes in Stockton
Stockton Council chiefs have hailed “another piece in the jigsaw” after funding was signed off by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen for a new housing project on the site of a now demolished five storey block of flats.
Fourteen two-bedroom bungalows for older people and vulnerable residents are being created on the Elm House site, in Bath Lane, Stockton, which was cleared in 2019.
Developer Keepmoat Homes said the speed at which it had received approval to start work on the site was “unprecedented” in the company’s history.
Mr Houchen’s Tees Valley Combined Authority has been given £19.4m from the Government’s Brownfield Housing Fund to pave the way for 1,800 new homes on neglected and disused land over the next five years.
Funding has been recently granted for 47 new homes in Lynn Street and Whitby Street, in Hartlepool.
Further sites set for redevelopment are Gresham and Middlehaven, in Middlesbrough, and South Bank which, alongside the Stockton and Hartlepool sites, could deliver up to 945 homes in the first year of the programme.
Last week Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley mayor, claimed the housing sector in the region had to date been neglected by Mr Houchen and urged him to do more and quickly to cater for people struggling to get on the housing ladder and needing affordable housing.
Mr Houchen said: “I’m delighted to be continuing the rollout of funding to help regenerate our towns and communities and breathe new life into dilapidated land, creating new houses where they are needed the most.
“We’re still only in the first year of this exciting and transformational project, but when it’s complete, people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool will be able to see a real and long-lasting transformation in these areas.”
The Elm House development forms part of ambitious plans to regenerate Stockton town centre and is adjacent to the £18.7m Sycamores housing scheme which Keepmoat Homes and Stockton Council launched in October last year.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said: “The homes will be a welcome addition and another piece in the jigsaw as we continue with our plans to improve every town centre across Stockton and make them fit for the future.
“We know we have to rejuvenate our town centres and high streets in different ways and encouraging people to live in or nearby them is key to what we’re trying to achieve.”
Ian Prescott, North East land and partnerships director at Keepmoat Homes, said: “The speed at which the site has been green-lighted – in less than three months – given the complexities of planning applications, while operating in a national lockdown and with a Christmas break in between, is unprecedented in Keepmoat Homes’ history.”
Stockton Council is proposing extra borrowing to pay for the £37m riverside park scheme which will replace the Castlegate Shopping Centre in Stockton.
It also plans to snap up land in Billingham town centre for regeneration works and create a new one-way system in Norton.
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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