Work to start on new housing complex for Chester-le-Street

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WORK will start on a major town centre housing complex early next year after the development was granted planning approval.

The Elms, a 57-home development for older people, is to be built in Chester-le-Street by social landlord Cestria Community Housing.

Members of Durham County Council’s area north planning committee voted unanimously this afternoon (THURS) to grant planning permission for the development.

Demolition of existing sheltered housing on the site is already underway and construction work on the new complex is expected to begin in February and be completed by spring 2015.

The development will include 47 two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments for the over 55s, sitting alongside six two-bedroom bungalows.

When complete, the main block of the complex will also include a range of communal services for use by residents and the wider community, including a beauty treatment room, IT suite, internet café, laundry, community allotment and office and exhibition space.

Housing company Keepmoat has been appointed as the preferred developer for the scheme, which has received £1.76m Government funding.

The development, which lies south west of the town centre on the Garden Farm Estate, will include a number of design features to improve life for residents, including wheelchair accessibility and access to a communal garden and allotment area.

Paul Fiddaman, chief executive of Cestria Community Housing, said: "It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this stage of the process.

"We are delighted that the plans for the Elms have been approved and can now look forward to starting construction works in the new year.

"The concept behind the development really is revolutionary and will completely change not only the general perception of older people’s housing, but also the lifestyle and wellbeing of this demographic in the future.

"We recognise that locally there is a severe shortage of high-quality housing for the over 55s, and The Elms will go some way to meeting that strategic housing need."

Lee Francis, Area Director from Keepmoat, added: "This is great news, not only for the people of Chester-le-Street, but also the region.

"We are pleased planning has been approved as we can now get things moving and start on site in the New Year."

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