Believe Housing aims to deliver 700 new “affordable” homes for County Durham by 2022

Bill Fullen, chief executive, Believe Housing (Demo)

A North East housing provider has said it is adding an extra 150 homes to its housebuilding programme, raising its delivery target to 700 by 2022.

Believe Housing – formerly County Durham Housing Group – is investing an additional £18 million to deliver the homes. This will bring its total spend on newbuild to over £70 million over the course of the five-year programme.

“Our new home construction programme is not like private sector house building. We work hard to include as many communities as possible in our new-build plans and focus on creating the right type of homes rather than quantity,” said Bill Fullen, Believe Housing’s chief executive (main picture).

“Each of our projects is genuinely tailored to the locations they are built in and the needs of the neighbourhood. That’s why we have built so many bungalows and have offered different opportunities such as Rent to Buy.

“That’s the power that housing associations have; we can respond effectively because we are not driven by profit and have a long-term view for our communities. This latest expansion delivers on our long-standing ambition to deliver 700 new homes by 2022.”

It is expected that the expanded construction programme will support the employment of over 2,100 people and provide up to 23 apprenticeship opportunities.

The newbuild programme has already seen homes completed in villages like Pity Me, Rookhope and St Helens Auckland as well as larger towns like Bishop Auckland, and even the edge of Durham city centre. Work is also underway at sites in Bowburn, Peterlee and Seaham.

Most of the new homes are being offered for “affordable” rent, the organisation said, with some being built as part of the Government-backed Rent to Buy scheme.

Rent to Buy is designed to ease the transition from renting to buying a home by offering a reduced rent, usually around 20% below the market rate. The aim is to give people the opportunity to save for a deposit at the same time and buy their home after five years.



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