A VILLAGE community is moving forward after a run-down pub was replaced with affordable housing.
Two Castles Housing Association has built 22 homes to rent in the centre of Widdrington Station on the site previously occupied by The Willows pub.
The facility had been derelict for a number of years and locals complained it was an eyesore and fire risk.
Now the £2.7million Beaumont Court development stands in its stead, and to celebrate the completion of the project, a presentation was made to some of its first residents.
Abigail and Adam Johnson, and their three-year-old daughter Lei, were presented with a commemorative key and bouquet by local MP Sir Alan Beith.
Mrs Johnson said: “Before we moved to Beaumont Court we were living in a really small flat that was just not suitable for us to grow as a young family or spend quality time together.
“It was also costing us a lot to live there and the high energy bills just made it harder to afford.
“We’d been looking to move into a more suitable home ever since I found out I was pregnant so it was a fantastic feeling to be told that we were eligible to move into a modern and spacious family home thanks to Two Castles.
“Our new home has everything you’d need as a family. We now have a large kitchen to eat together in, a garden and our own car-parking space. Having my parents living close by in Stobswood is also a big help for when Lei starts school in September.
“The house is also really easy to keep warm so even though we’ve not lived here long we’ve already noticed a real difference in the cost to our energy bills, which helps to make living here more affordable.”
Sir Alan said: “I am delighted that these energy-efficient homes have been built to serve the housing needs of local families.”
The scheme, made up of two and three-bedroomed homes, was built in partnership with Esh Property Services and part-funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and Northumberland County Council.
Some properties have been constructed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 standards and include energy-efficient features, such as photovoltaic solar panels.
Esh Director David Halfacre said: “Being at the opening of this much heralded scheme is particularly satisfying for me as it marks the completion of the scheme that gave birth to our unique partnership with Two Castles Housing Association.
“We’ve worked together to bring much-needed affordable homes to Widdrington and I hope the new residents enjoy their new homes and that the community feels the benefit of new folk in the area.”
Two Castles Property Services Director Rob Brittain added: “We’re delighted that this development has provided much needed affordable housing for families like Mr and Mrs Johnson in this area.
“Two Castles Housing Association worked closely with Esh Property Services and a number of other partners on this development in order to benefit the local community.”
The association also worked with HMH Architects and Elliott Associates, with support from Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council and the Area Training and Activity Centre.