A HOUSING association has awarded a contract to build 58 new homes.

County Durham Housing Group has appointed Mears New Homes to build 48 new properties in Seaham and ten Bowburn.

Work on both sites is expected to begin imminently.

County Durham Housing Group development manager Tom Winter said: “Awarding this contract is a major step towards delivering new and much needed affordable housing in both Seaham and Bowburn.

“Both developments have been designed to closely match demand in their communities.

“By offering a mix of bungalows and family houses, as well as Rent to Buy opportunities, the new homes will be able to contribute towards the long-term future of both Seaham and Bowburn.”

The contract with Mears New Homes represents around 10 per cent of County Durham Housing Group’s recently expanded 545 home new-build programme.

Work on the £54m affordable housing plan began during 2017 and will continue into 2021.

Tenants will move into the new homes in Bowburn and Seaham in phases from summer 2019.

County Durham Housing Group has already completed new homes in communities including Pity Me, St Helen Auckland and Rookhope. Work on 40 homes in Crook is also approaching completion.

Colin Middlemass, of Mears Housing, said: “We’re delighted to be working with County Durham Housing Group on this project.

“This development will bring 58 new affordable homes that have been carefully designed to meet the needs of people in Seaham and Bowburn.”

In Heathway, 16 two-bedroom wheelchair adaptable bungalows, a pair of three-bedroom dormer bungalows and 30 three-bedroom houses will be constructed. Many of the homes will be available under the ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme with the remainder offered for affordable rent.

Rent to Buy is a government scheme designed to ease the transition from renting to buying a home by providing subsidised rent; usually around 20% below the market rate.

At Surtees Avenue all 10 of the three-bedroom family houses being built will be available under ‘Rent to Buy’. Planning permission for both developments was awarded late last year.