PLANS to build the first large-scale social housing development in the centre of Middlesbrough for a generation have been called “socialism in action” by the town’s elected mayor.
Andy Preston said the first developments, expected to be in the Gresham and Middlehaven area, herald a “new era” for town centre living.
Middlesbrough Council is set to establish a partnership with Thirteen Housing Group and North Star Housing Group to help it deliver its housing-led town centre redevelopment plans.
The partnership is said to allow the council to identify sites in its ownership. These will be primarily in urban areas but potentially throughout the town, to help its housing development programme.
Thirteen and North Star are expected to bring their experience and expertise to deliver the “transformative” projects.
“We’ve got two brilliant partners on board in Thirteen and North Star who really share our ambitions for high quality housing and a town centre that is safe and vibrant,” Preston said. “Middlesbrough people desperately want to see something happen with Gresham and I can promise them we are going to be getting on with it straight away. Our partners bring the resources and expertise that can help us make an absolutely amazing community that really fuels the town centre.”
The Mayor’s ambition is to attract an additional four thousand people to live in the town centre in the next 10 years.
Major developers often perceive the town centre to be higher risk for housebuilding with high development costs and lower sales values, the council says. The town centre redevelopment plans are intended to offer a kickstart to the market.
“This is a real socialism in action policy and the first really big social housing programme in the town centre in a long, long time,” Preston added.
Ian Wardle, Thirteen’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be working with Middlesbrough Council and North Star Housing Group to deliver much-needed affordable homes in the centre of Middlesbrough.
“Thirteen owns and manages over 11,000 homes in Middlesbrough and we want to invest further in the area.
“There is growing demand for high quality homes close to all the amenities Middlesbrough has to offer and as people move through life, they want more choice. Choice to rent, to rent and then purchase or to buy-in-part through shared ownership.
“This is an exciting time for the regeneration of the town and over the coming months we look forward to announcing many new housing schemes.”
Angela Lockwood, North Star’s chief executive, added: “Over forty years ago we began life as a housing association in Middlesbrough. During that time, we have always remained committed to the people and communities of the town. Over the years we have continually invested in our properties and communities as well as building new homes. We are proud to be part of this exciting initiative.”
Main image: Ian Wardle, chief executive of Thirteen Housing Group, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston; and Angela Lockwood, chief executive of North Star Housing Group