MORE than 500 new homes will be built in the North East and Cumbria with the help of a £10.4million grant.
The award has been given to the Esh Group by the Homes and Communities Agency to help build 541 affordable properties in Northumberland, the Tees Valley, Durham and Cumbria.
The grant will support contracts valued at more than £61million.
The deal is the first of its kind to be signed nationally and is one of only two private developer contracts to be ratified so far as part of the Government’s Affordable Homes Programme.
Most of the new homes will be available for affordable rent, but some will be for affordable home ownership, supported housing or social rent.
Work will start on the first sites in January and it is planned for completion by December 2014.
Esh Group, via its specialist subsidiary Dunelm Acorn Homes, led the bid in partnership with a number of registered housing providers, including Two Castles Housing Association, which has recently been involved in a development in Widdrington Station.
Esh Property Services Chairman David Halfacre said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this contract, particularly as we have flown the flag for the North by being the first private developer-led contract to be ratified.
“We are very much looking forward to progressing this project with our partners and together really making a difference for communities in the North of England.”