A major new housing and development scheme in East Durham has been given garden village status by the Government.
One of 19 new garden village schemes announced across the UK, South Seaham Garden Village, is a partnership between Durham County Council, Tolent and Home Group.
Located close to the A19, Dalton Retail Park and the coast, South Seaham Garden Village will bring 1,500 new homes, half of which will be affordable, to a growing area of the county.
At the heart of the garden village will be a hub, with shops and a café, a new primary school, a park and village square, and a health and well-being community hub, which includes a gym.
The village centre will also include a new innovation hub that will be used by new and existing businesses, along with the region’s universities, to bring the latest research and innovation insight into the development of all aspects of the garden village.
More than half of the development will be managed green space, including extensive parkland, sports facilities and play areas, lined by a network of over three miles of landscaped paths and cycle ways.
Working closely with North East based Home Group, Tolent will build around 1,000 of the new houses, of which 750 will include a variety of new starter homes and homes for older people, as well as those in need of assisted living and dependent care facilities — claimed to be a totally inclusive community.
Land for the remaining 500 houses will be sold to the private sector, and profit made from the sale will be used to subsidise the “affordable” housing and community facilities including construction of a school and village centre.
Councillor Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “This is fantastic news and something we have been working towards for a number of years. The council has provided and supported significant investment in the regeneration of this part of East Durham, made possible by the excellent work and foresight of the former Easington District Council, and we continue to see the fruits of that.
“With new jobs and growth in the county, we not only need more housing but improved standards and homes of a greater variety including affordable to meet residents’ needs. This forms the cornerstones of our new housing strategy.
“South Seaham Garden Village will be a unique and highly desirable place to live. It will be a vibrant and exciting community and is symbolic of the future aspirations we have for our county.”
John Wood, director of Tolent, said: “Receiving garden village status is befitting of such a great development that really will be a national exemplar. Our vision to create a truly sustainable community with a mix of distinctive, high quality housing that improves quality of life is what we’re doing here, as well as creating jobs for the next decade and beyond.”
Will Gardner, director of development at Home Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received garden village status. It is testimony to the strong relationship between Home Group, Tolent Construction and Durham County Council – three North-East organisations that care passionately about their region. We are looking forward to working with Tolent and starting to deliver the reality for this fantastic vision.”
Work is expected to begin early next year with the first new homes being available by 2020.
The council says it is anticipating that the development will create around 1,000 jobs, including 500 new construction jobs and 300 jobs in the centre of the village. A training academy will be established on site with the Construction Industry Training Board and will give young people apprenticeship opportunities to develop their skills to become tradesmen and women, and other professions.
Planning permission has already been granted for the development on the outskirts of the coastal town.