Plans by Bernicia to build quality new affordable homes on a former school site in Sunderland have been given the go-ahead.
The North East housing association has acquired the former Southwick Primary School site from Sunderland City Council who has granted planning permission for 37 new affordable rented homes to be built. The welcome decision allows four bungalows, as well as a mixture of 33 two, three, and fourbedroom houses, to be built on the site on Northern Way.
Work will start in September to deliver high quality homes for affordable rent and shared ownership to meet local housing needs. The £6 million development has been part funded by Homes England. Michael Farr, Bernicia executive director of assets and growth, said: “Our aim is to provide quality, well designed new homes local people need and deserve at rents and purchase prices they can afford.
“We know this is an important location in Southwick with real significance to the local community, and there is strong demand from local people for high quality homes to be built there. “Our homes will be ideal for a range of people looking to rent or purchase including young families, older people looking to downsize as well as first-time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder.”
Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Dynamic City at Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m delighted to see this development going ahead, paving the way for much needed affordable homes for rent in Southwick. This complements the work the City Council is doing in partnership with local housing providers like Bernicia, to increase and speed up the supply of affordable and supported homes in the city to meet the needs of our communities.”
The proposed name for the scheme is Alice Gardens after being voted the most popular choice in a poll of parents and pupils of the current Southwick Primary School. It will be submitted to the Council for approval. The pupils were given three names which were all inspired by local history and researched by Philip Curtis from the Sunderland Antiquarian Society.
Alice Gardens links to Lewis Carroll, author of the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland, whose sisters Mary and Elizabeth lived in the Southwick area of the city after Mary married the Reverend Charles Collingwood. The famous writer used to visit the area.
As a thank you for their help, Bernicia is contributing to the school’s library of books, encouraging the love of literature and reading great stories. The school has described learning to read as being similar to the foundations to building a home, giving young people ‘a strong base for all other areas of the curriculum and an important life skill’ for supporting the children’s future opportunities and aspirations.