Twenty large family homes would be built for the Gateshead Jewish community if a public / private partnership that is driving up the quality and choice of homes in the borough is given the go-ahead for its innovative proposal.
The scheme is part of a wider initiative to build 58 affordable properties on a piece of land which has stood empty for almost a decade because redevelopment costs were prohibitive.
The Gateshead Regeneration Partnership (GRP) wants to use profits from the construction and private sale of around 50 houses elsewhere in the borough to part fund the project in Hyde Park Street.
This would allow the development of the affordable homes on a 2.88 acre site which was, until 2013, occupied by back to back terraced housing. And 20 of these new homes would be specially designed to meet the needs of the town’s Orthodox Jewish Community.
GRP comprises Gateshead Council, construction and regeneration specialist Vistry Partnerships North East and affordable housing provider Home Group. The proposal has been developed in conjunction with Homes England, Adler Housing – a registered provider of social housing under the Jewish Community Council of Gateshead – and Agudas Israel Housing Association.
A planning application is being prepared for submission which, if approved, would allow the development of two to five bedroomed homes on the site of the former Hookergate School in High Spen, the profits from which would subsidise the Hyde Park Street project.
Home Group would offer 38 of these for affordable rent, whilst Adler and Agudas Israel would take the 20 specially designed homes for Jewish residents. In addition to being large enough to accommodate extended families, features in these homes include a room with a sukkah – a retractable roof, and kitchens compatible with observance of Kosher dietary practices including two sinks and sufficient counter space.
Chaya Spitz, CEO with Agudas Israel Housing Association, said: “This carefully planned scheme comes after many years of joint working by our colleagues from Gateshead Regeneration Partnership and the local Jewish community. We are delighted to be joining and hopefully enabling it to come to fruition.”
Eli Halberstadt, chair of Adler Housing, commented: “We are delighted that the Gateshead Jewish community has the opportunity to provide high quality, bespoke housing which would provide ample living space for families. We are especially pleased to partner with Agudas Israel on this project.”
Cllr. Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, added: “I would welcome the development of much needed high quality housing in the area and I’m delighted that Gateshead Council is playing a positive role, working with the community on this initiative.”
Andrew Rennie Development Director with Vistry Partnerships North East, commented: “It has been a long and complex process to align all the partners involved in the initiative, but it is pleasing to have been able to create an opportunity to meet the diverse housing needs of local people and unlock the potential of this piece of unused land.”
Kitson Keen, Director of Development at Home Group, said: “The Gateshead Regeneration Partnership is a great example of collaborative working. And this latest initiative is another example of this. The progress we have made to date gives us absolute confidence that we’ll reach the targets we’ve set to deliver much needed affordable homes in the Gateshead borough.”
GRP’s vision is to create around 2,500 new homes on 16 sites across the borough in a £350 million initiative. To date around 450 have been built on eight sites.
As well as improving housing quality and choice, the initiative is providing job and training opportunities – a minimum of 25% of which go to local people – and an economic uplift – a quarter of the supply budget is committed to businesses within the borough.