A SUNDERLAND resident has been given the gift of a beautiful home for Christmas, after moving into one of five brand new council-owned bungalows.
Pauline Askew, who suffers from a range of debilitating health conditions including COPD, depression and mobility issues following a double knee replacement, said she is ‘absolutely thrilled’ after being supported with a move to a stunning two-bed bungalow in Southwick, brought to market by Sunderland City Council, after the local authority became a Registered Housing Provider earlier this year.
The homes are the first new build properties the council has made available for rent in decades.
62-year-old Pauline, who lives with her partner George and son Peter, downsized from a 3-bedroom house to her new rented 2-bed bungalow in Elmwood Avenue, after it became difficult to manage the stairs in her former Witherwack home.
She said the move has made a hugely positive difference to her quality of life, and that of her 39-year-old son who has cerebral palsy.
She said: “It was getting harder and harder to manage in my old house. Simple things like going to the toilet upstairs was becoming a struggle with my knees, and it was really awful during an anxious year, as I have stayed at home because of Coronavirus and the health problems I have.
“I registered to move to a new house less than a month ago and was contacted the next day to be offered the chance to look around Elmwood Avenue. I was blown away by it. You couldn’t not be impressed. It’s beautiful. It has a lovely high gloss kitchen, carpeted throughout and I have so much space. I couldn’t be happier.”
Five bungalows were built in Southwick, by local developer MCC Homes, and purchased by the council to offer for rent to residents, as part of a £59m programme that will see the local authority bring more than 360 empty properties into use as family homes over the next five years; deliver 117 new build bungalows; and through new build, conversion and refurbishment, create 95 new homes as supported accommodation.
The move saw the local authority once again become a Registered Housing Provider, renting its first homes in more than 20 years. It has also started a programme of construction – building its first new properties in 40 years – as well as buying homes, including those at Elmwood Avenue, to create new housing stock that meets the needs of the city’s residents.
In a five-year housing delivery and investment strategy, it sets out plans to bring long term empty properties back into use, deliver more bungalows for accessible living, and providing more supported accommodation for vulnerable residents.
Councillor Kevin Johnston, Deputy Portfolio Holder for Dynamic City at Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to see Pauline and her family settling into their lovely new home.
“Our move towards becoming a landlord again is about just this – supporting our residents by offering a broad range of homes that meet their needs and that will enrich their lives, as this move has for Pauline and her family.”
The council keen to support local businesses approved a partnership with Sunderland housing developer MCC Homes to build the five bungalows at Elmwood Avenue. This partnership is a great example of the Council’s approach to Community Wealth Building by working with a local business to support local employment and the wider local supply chain. Sunderland Council keen to continue with this success and create further local economic benefits have already identified future projects with MCC Homes.
Paul McCoy, managing director of MCC Homes, said: “These are beautiful bungalows, and we’re delighted to see them in use, and making a difference to people’s lives.
“We’re very proud to be a Sunderland city business and support Sunderland Council in its housing delivery aspirations. It’s great to make a positive difference to the city through developments that add value and improve people’s lives. We are delighted Pauline loves her new home.”