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Once-derelict site becomes a community thanks to housing association’s new homes

Feb 14, 2024 | Leisure & Lifestyle

A new housing development, which regenerated a derelict social club site in County Durham, has quickly become a friendly community for its residents.

“It feels fab living here.

“I love my home, I’ve got lovely neighbours and I’ve integrated into a good community,” said resident Carole Watkis.

“I’ve gotten a new life here, my son’s happy, I’m happy and I feel really settled.”

Carole was among the first residents to move in to one of believe housing’s 96 new homes at Milburn Close, on Seaside Lane, Easington Village.

The North East housing association worked with regional contractor Esh Construction to deliver a mix of two, three and four-bed houses and bungalows for affordable rent, Rent to Buy and shared ownership.

With the development largely complete and all the homes snapped up, colleagues from believe housing and Esh Construction visited the site recently to see how the community has taken shape.

Kate Abson, Director of Development at believe housing, said: “Seaside Lane is a really important scheme for believe housing, helping us to meet demand for affordable homes in the local area as we have seen significant interest from people who want to live here.

“It has delivered brand new high-quality homes that people aspire to live in, and a mixed community where people can thrive.

“A lot of people who aspire to get on the property ladder are using the opportunities created at Seaside Lane to do that.”

The £11m redevelopment of the former Easington Working Men’s Club site was supported by a Homes England grant, secured by Esh Construction.

Like many building projects, it was delayed by lockdown and supply chain issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but residents were able to move in between summer 2022 and 2023.

Kate added: “Seaside Lane and its construction had a hugely positive impact on the wider area, in terms of investment into the local community and the region.

“And, after the site laid dormant and derelict for some time, this scheme has brought it back into use and is now a really attractive and popular place to live.”

Laura Devaney, Land and Partnerships Director at Esh Construction, was integral in developing the initial proposals for the scheme with believe housing.

She said: “The collaborative working of all parties involved — from the early concept through the planning process and then into construction — has been key to the success of this project.

“I’m thrilled to see another land led development come full circle and deliver incredibly desirable affordable homes.”