Multi-million pound housing scheme for over 55s

The Advertiser Series: Keepmoat area director Lee Francis with Paisley Eldridge at Silver Tree Gardens Keepmoat area director Lee Francis with Paisley Eldridge at Silver Tree Gardens

A MULTI-million pound housing scheme for older people – built on the former site of council-run sheltered accommodation – has been completed.

Silver Tree Gardens, which includes 16 two-bedroom apartments for affordable rent and shared ownership for people aged 55 and over, has been built on the former site of Oversteads House, on Skippers Meadow, Ushaw Moor, near Durham City.

Durham County Council closed the 1970s-built sheltered housing unit in November 2010, despite an outcry from its remaining residents.

Silver Tree Gardens, which was named by 11-year-old Paisley Eldridge of nearby Silver Tree Primary School, was built by housing and regeneration specialist Keepmoat and will be managed by Housing Hartlepool, part of the Vela Group.

An open event was held at the two-storey development on Friday (December 13).

Each apartment includes a double bedroom, single bedroom, open plan lounge, kitchen and dining room and a bathroom.

The scheme also includes communal facilities, gardens and offices, plus solar panels, efficient lights and water and power-saving measures.

Lee Francis, area director at Keepmoat, said: “This project demonstrates our commitment to building and sustaining local communities.

“In addition to developing the new scheme within the village, our wider commitment is to support local projects and initiatives involving local people.”

Sarah Fawcett, head of development at the Vela Group, said: “We have invested £1.7m in this community by building our first housing development in Durham.

“As well as transforming a site which had stood empty for more than three years, we have created 16 high-quality and affordable new homes for older people, something which is much needed in the city.”

The scheme received £539,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency and was designed by BSBA architects.

The Oversteads House closed along with Brandon House, in Brandon.

The Vela Group also has planning permission to develop the Brandon site, for 20 apartments and two bungalows.

The council handed over both sites, together worth £285,000, free of charge to encourage their redevelopment.

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