GENTOO Group and its partners have broken ground on the flagship Chester Gate development in Sunderland, marking the beginning of construction work to 118 new homes.
The development is being built by the group’s private housebuilding arm, Gentoo Homes on a site of the city’s former Pennywell estate off Chesher Road. The location occupies a key gateway from the A19.
In this first phase, Gentoo is delivering 118 homes for sale and the work involves the construction of a new access road into the development. As part of this, Sunderland City Council is carrying out major highways improvements along Chester Road adjacent to the new development and enabling works have already begun on part of the site.
New traffic lights will be installed at the new entrance to Chester Gate, along with a new pedestrian crossing that will replace the existing under pass.
The wider site is earmarked for 500 homes in total, however, plans for future phases of the development are yet to be confirmed, Gentoo said.
This follows the organisation’s recent announcement to invest £117 million in 900 additional homes to rent in Sunderland as part of a new Affordable Homes Programme.
“It is great news for Sunderland that work is finally beginning at Chester Gate. This is a hugely important regeneration project for the city and will provide much needed high-quality new housing for local residents,” said Gentoo chief executive, Nigel Wilson.
“It is also a great example of how Gentoo Homes can build homes for sale and generate a surplus that helps us to deliver new affordable homes to rent.”
The council’s cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, said: “At our most recent full council meeting, the council agreed and updated its housing commitments. These include that we must prioritise the building of housing for all residents, young or old, and for all types of housing.
“Work on this new development and Gentoo’s recent pledge on 900 new homes for renters are part of this housing commitment and to seeing a more dynamic and vibrant Sunderland.”
Council leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, added: “This council is very keen to see more housing of all kinds developed in our city. Using the guidelines and rules that the Government is giving to all councils, Sunderland will be seeing thousands of new homes built in coming years.
“As a council we are always looking at options and ideas to work with developers and other partners. This is exactly what is happening with the Chester Gate development as the council is contributing £2 million highways works to help support Gentoo’s investment.
“The new homes on this gateway site are a major investment and vote of confidence in our city that this council very much supports.”