Bernicia on site building 370 new homes within two years of strategy launch

Tenants are moving into their brand new homes in Sunderland with Bernicia firmly on course to be on site building 370 new homes within two years of launching its new corporate strategy.

Bernicia’s completion of a £6m housing development on the site of a former primary school in Sunderland reaffirms its commitment to building a range of property types and tenures across the North East, in urban and rural locations.

The mix of bungalows, two, three and four-bedroom homes have been allocated for rent to tackle demand in the city for high quality, new, affordable homes to rent.

The properties in Cheshire Avenue are built on the site of the former Southwick Primary School.

The 37 homes are helping transform the lives of families and people from the local area, providing a high standard of living, the stability of a good home and at rents set to make them affordable in the local rental market.

Laura Purvis, 32, has just moved into a four-bedroom home with her partner and young family.

“It’s absolutely lovely, so quiet, so private,” she said. “We got a phone call from Sunderland Council to tell us about the new builds and to wait to be contacted by Joanne at Bernicia.

“I cried when she told us we could have the house, I told her I loved her! Our family love it, there’s so much space, we don’t know what to do with all the space. It’s absolutely amazing, it feels like we are living in a hotel.”

Neighbour Leanne Whitfield, 33, is enjoying life with her four children in their new four-bedroom home.

“The children love it, it’s got a garden and they have a trampoline now – our other place only had a yard,” she said.

“I was absolutely over the moon, I never thought I’d live in a house like this, it’s a dream home for us.”

Mother of two Ruth Arnott, 30, said: “We’ve got a three-bedroom home, there’s loads of storage space, it’s massive compared to my old place.

“Bernicia are a good landlord and it’s just such a massive relief, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders with this lovely new home.”

Bernicia is committed to investing £90m into building at least 600 new homes over the next four years as part of our £210m investment into homes and communities in the North East.

Michael Farr, Bernicia Executive Director of Assets and Property, said: “Seeing residents move in and the life changing experience they have in their new homes is fantastic.

“The properties are all at rents that local people can afford – the quality of these homes and the energy efficiency, which is clearly such an important factor at the moment, has made demand for them very high.”

Councillor Kevin Johnston, Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, said: “It’s fantastic to see the residents moving into these new properties and the amazing transformation of this former brownfield site by Bernicia.

“It’s great to see what this means to families with young children and what it means to them moving into sustainable homes fit for purpose for the future in such a lovely area. As a council, we are continuing to work to deliver our City Plan for a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant Sunderland, and new and improved housing is very much part of this plan.”

Bernicia worked with teachers and pupils at the new Southwick Primary School to name the new estate Cheshire Avenue – drawing on the ‘Cheshire Cat’ character in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ because of author Lewis Carroll’s historic links to Sunderland.

Pictured in Cheshire Avenue left to right: Sunderland City Council Cabinet member Coun Kevin Johnston, Bernicia housing officer Joanne Pickering, tenant Laura Purvis, Bernicia housing officer Louisa Sloan, Southwick ward Coun Alex Samuels, Bernicia executive director Michael Farr and Southwick ward Coun Kelly Chequer.