Residents have begun moving in to new affordable homes in Kidsgrove thanks to a £2m Aspire Housing regeneration scheme.
The former Woodshutts Inn pub in Lower Ash Road, Butt Lane, was demolished to make way for 22 quality homes, ready for rent and shared ownership sale.
The flats, houses and bungalows in Woodshutts Park have transformed the neighbourhood, providing much needed housing at an affordable price. The shared ownership homes are priced of between £115k and £125k for two-bed houses or bungalows, where the buyer purchases a 40 per cent share.
The development was financed by Aspire Housing with £616,000 of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. Contractor, Novus Property Solutions completed the construction.
Sinéad Butters, Aspire Housing Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to providing new affordable homes, both for rent and to buy, to meet local housing needs. “I feel proud to see the transformation of this site. In the past, the derelict pub attracted interest for all the wrong reasons, it was an eyesore and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
“But we have turned it around and created housing which is in high demand. Four of the seven shared ownership homes were reserved before the site had been completed. “They are proving very popular and we know this type of housing is helping people get that first step on the property ladder.”
Novus Director, Alan Nixon, said: “We’re proud to have played our part in the transformation of this site, which had become something of an eyesore after years of neglect. “It’s a perfect example of our partnership with Aspire Housing to deliver attractive high quality new homes, which it is hoped will improve the wider area for the benefit of the whole community.
“I’m sure that the residents moving in will enjoy living in this stunning new development.”
Councillor Kyle Robinson said: “For many years this site was blighted with anti-social behaviour, arson and drug dealing. “Residents in the surrounding area were fed up with the abandoned pub and the state it had been left in and that is why we led a campaign to see something done. “I am absolutely thrilled to see the development of affordable homes on this land to finally give something back to local people. “The investment that Aspire has made along with the Home and Communities Agency is very much welcomed. “This is an example of what we can deliver for our communities when we work together.
“I would like to wish the new residents well in their lovely new homes.”
Councillors and residents are calling for action to be taken on a former care home. The empty property on Lower Ash Road has been blighted by anti-social behaviour, rubbish dumping and a complete lack of garden maintenance. There have also been several complaints regarding gravel used to block the entrance to the site. The gravel has encroached onto the pavement, causing several trips and falls.
Kyle says: “The property has been on the market for many years and continues to be an eyesore in our community. Complaints from local people have been coming in thick and fast as the site continues to deteriorate. There is currently planning permission in place to allow the owner to demolish the property and build several homes.
“I have urged officers of the council to apply pressure on the current property owners. Land banking is unacceptable and I take a very dim view on it. Empty homes and properties quickly fall into disrepair and attract pests, graffiti and litter, becoming a target for vandalism, squatting, break-ins and arson. This is not fair on the neighbours. Following an inspection of the site, it looks as though people are accessing the building through an unsecured side entrance. I have asked that the building is secured as a matter of urgency.”
Local resident, Hazel Tench said: “We are fed up with the mess this building has been left in. The owners need to move forward and develop the site. We don’t like it because it seems they are holding onto this property to then sell to the highest bidder. The owners don’t have to look at it day in, day out. I know a neighbour that fell over outside of the house because of the rubble and rubbish on the pavements.”
Newcastle Borough Council will do all it can to ensure the site is made safe and to encourage the development of the site.