THE site of a former sports centre in Peterlee has been transformed into a new £1.4 million affordable housing development – and it has proved a real homecoming for one of the residents.
Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) – in partnership with Peterlee Town Council and the Homes and Community Agency – has created 13 two-bedroom bungalows at OIaman Walk, Peterlee.
The properties, built on behalf of DAMHA by Able Construction, are in response to a demand for larger affordable homes for older people in Peterlee.
One of the first residents to move in was 49-year-old Gordon Carne and his 56-year-old wife Sheila. Gordon used to work at the former sports centre in the Lowfields area of Peterlee, where the homes are now situated.
He said: “I am literally in the same spot where I used to work so it is a big coincidence that I am now living here in a new home, which is absolutely fantastic.
“Sheila is disabled and had problems getting up the stairs in our old three-bedroom home, so having everything on one floor is really making a difference to her life. She particularly loves the bathroom as it has a walk in shower and we generally can’t believe how spacious everything is.
“We are also surrounded by green space which makes it really peaceful and ideal for a dog owner like me.”
The new homes have all been built to a high specification and include extra insulation and solar panels, which help to heat the hot water and are designed to be more energy efficient.
DAMHA received grant funding of £780,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the housing and regeneration organisation for England, towards the £1.4 million cost of the scheme.
Gordon Gray, DAMHA Chief Executive, said: “We are very proud of this new development, which is providing much-needed affordable homes to older people in Peterlee.
“We could not have achieved it with the support of the HCA and, in particular, Peterlee Town Council, who were instrumental in ensuring this development went ahead.
“Partnership working of this nature makes a big difference and it is pleasing to see the residents enjoying their new homes.”
Bill Carr, Area Manager at the HCA, said: ““This is great news for Sheila and Gordon and the other residents. I am really pleased that this investment is helping people move into the homes they want whilst staying in their local community.”
Olaman Walk is named in memory of Bob Olaman, a former DAMHA President who passed away in 2008.
The architects on the scheme were Durham-based Brian Ashdown Architects and DAMHA’s development partner was Isos.