Following the success of a mixed-tenure development in County Durham, which completed last year, work on a second, much larger £60.4m phase, is now underway — continuing the mission to meet local housing need.
Bishops Park saw 99 new homes delivered near to Auckland Park, on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland. Of these, 49 were for private sale, 20 for shared ownership and the remaining 30 for affordable rent.
Now, developer Vistry Partnerships North East, is partnering with County Durham based, not-for-profit housing association believe housing, to deliver a further 331 homes. Believe housing has bought 100 of the properties that are being built, which it will make available for affordable rent and Rent to Buy, and has an option to buy a further 100. The remaining homes will be sold privately under Vistry’s Linden Homes brand.
The first residents are expected to move into the new phase two properties in early 2023 with completion of the build programme expected in October 2026. Negotiated as part of the project, Vistry Partnerships North East will contribute over £325,000 towards infrastructure improvements to Coundon Gate Roundabout — the junction of the A689 and A688
In addition, the project will create 13 jobs and provide 35 work placements for local people. Finally, possibility of Vistry creating an extra care facility for older people and those with particular support needs on the site in the future, are also being explored.
Development Director with Vistry Partnerships North East, Andrew Rennie, said: “After the success of the first phase at Bishops Park, which helped increase both the choice and quality of housing for local people, we are delighted to be partnering with believe housing to create more affordable homes — and to further enhance this vibrant and sustainable community on the edge of Bishop Auckland.”
Kate Abson, Director of Development at believe housing added: “It’s great to see work starting at Bishops Park, where we look forward to providing much-needed affordable housing. We’ll have a mix of properties available, including bungalows and family homes for affordable rent, along with Rent to Buy properties — which enable customers to save towards buying their home.
“This site isn’t just about putting roofs over people’s heads. It’s about enabling people to live in a high-quality environment and to be part of a vibrant, wider community within reach of both the town’s amenities and the surrounding landscape.”
Cllr Carl Marshall, Leader of County Durham Labour, commented: “Bishop Auckland has welcomed a great deal of investment and development in recent years and this exciting project only adds to the town’s fantastic offer.
“Bishops Park provides high-quality affordable housing for local people, enabling young families to stay and thrive in the town they grew up in and offers a fantastic mix of homes, ideal for nurturing a successful sustainable community. I’m delighted to see this project, which will be of huge benefit to the town, come to fruition.”
The Bishops Park site had been earmarked for housing since 2007 and planning consent was given in 2011. However, no construction took place until Vistry Partnerships North East utilised a grant secured from Homes England’s Affordable Homes Programme 2016/21, to create a financially viable scheme and unlocked the potential of the site.
The developer is currently active on 12 construction sites around the North East region with a gross development value of just over £400m and is working with seven housing associations and seven local authorities.
Believe housing currently manages more than 18,000 homes, in County Durham and beyond, and plans to deliver more than 1,250 new homes by 2026, which is expected to support more than 3,800 jobs and 40 apprenticeships during construction.
Alongside this, existing homes are being upgraded in a huge project to improve their environmental performance and adapt them to future needs and believe housing’s sector-leading support for customers and extensive community funding programme aims to deliver life without barriers for all its customers.
Header image shows from (L-R) Vistry Partnerships North East Managing Director, Dave Brown; Vistry Partnerships North East Development Director, Andrew Rennie; Leader of County Durham Labour, Cllr Carl Marshall and Director of Development at believe housing, Kate Abson.