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Living next door

Living next door

Two women who began a friendship later in life whilst living in Cambridgeshire have now found themselves living next door to each other at DAMHA’s new £3.36 million affordable housing development in County Durham.

Kathie Brewer and Cathie Parke are among the new residents at our development in the centre of Wheatley.

This is providing 23 much-needed two-bedroom bungalows homes for older people in the community.

Kathie and Cathie are now living next door to each other after their successful applications for the homes, which were built on grassed land at Meadow View

As a tribute to local councillor Morris Nicholls who represented Wheatley Hill on Durham County Council for over three decades before his death in 2017, the new cul-de-sac has been named Nicholls Close.

Kathie, 75, grew up in County Durham but only returned to the region three years ago after living in various places. These include Peterborough, where she first met Cathie when they were living at a sheltered housing scheme in the city.

Kathie said: “I moved back to live with my husband John in Station Town, but we were looking for something more permanent and more central in a larger community.

“Cathie already had her name down for one of the properties at Wheatley Hill and I went to look at one with her and immediately knew this was the place for John and me as well.

“We also applied and luckily were successful, and ended up living next door to Cathie, so it couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Cathie, 73, is originally from London but like Kathie she also moved around, before deciding she wanted to be closer to best friend, little knowing this would be as neighbours.

She says: “Kathie and I have had similar experience and have lots in common, so we hit it off immediately when we first met.

“It’s lovely to have my best friend living next door to me and to have such an amazing house.

“I was speechless when I first looked at the house and even cried. It’s spacious and can adapt to my needs as I get older, and I absolutely treasure it.”

The new scheme forms part of DAMHA’s ongoing strategy to address the shortage of new, two-bedroom bungalows in the region.

Paul Mullis, Chief Executive of DAMHA, said: “We’re delighted to have completed work on our development and to welcome people to their new homes.

“We are unique in that we only ever build high-quality two-bedroom bungalows in former coalfield communities because these are the properties that many older people in our region are crying out for.

“By building bungalows, we are also helping to free up larger family homes for others, so it’s beneficial for everyone.”

Each home has a designated parking space, along with five visitor bays for the scheme. The properties all have gates communal rear lawned gardens, with a garden shed and patio.

Homes England, the body which funds affordable housing in England, contributed £803,362 to the cost of the scheme. The contractor on the scheme was Durham-based Dere Street Homes.

People interested in living a DAMHA home can call 0800 043 2642 or email