The first new social housing for over 50 years has been completed in the remote village of Rookhope, as part of a £30m project bringing affordable homes to County Durham.
A pair of two-bed bungalows in the heart of Rookhope have been officially handed over to County Durham Housing Group. The new homes are the first new social housing since the post-war era in the upper-Weardale community, which has a population of fewer than 300 people. The bungalows are also the first of 300 new purpose-built affordable homes being constructed on 17 sites between now and 2020 by County Durham Housing Group.
County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive Bill Fullen, said: “We hear lots of talk about the housing crisis in big cities, but affordable housing is just as much of an issue in a small rural village like Rookhope.
“I can’t imagine the circumstances where a private investor would be able to deliver a project like this, which the community wanted and knew that there was demand for. But, this is exactly the type of project where County Durham Housing Group can come into its own.”
The bungalows feature high levels of insulation, the latest heating systems powered by solar panels, and double glazing. They are expected to bring big savings to tenants when compared with older homes in the village. Demand for modern bungalows in Rookhope is high, as most properties date back to the area’s lead and ironstone mining heyday, well over 100 years ago.
County Durham Housing Group is one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing. Alongside the new properties in Rookhope, the Group’s £30m new-build programme is creating new homes in communities like Pity Me, Bowburn, Crook and Seaham. As well as traditional affordable rent, construction is delivering ‘Rent to Buy’ homes. The programme is also expected to create around 100 new jobs and apprenticeships. Construction at Rookhope was undertaken by Bishop Auckland based contractor T. Manners & Sons.
Pictured, from right to left, are: County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive Bill Fullen, Board Chair Judith Common, and Wayne Harris from contractor T Manners & Sons at the completed bungalows in Rookhope.