Hundreds of new homes planned for empty plots across Sunderland

Doxford Park after pic. Gentoo has built new homes on the site.
Doxford Park after pic. Gentoo has built new homes on the site.
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EMPTY plots of land across Sunderland will be filled with new houses, Gentoo bosses say.

Neighbourhoods, including areas of Ford Estate and Pennywell, have been left with empty grassland after old council homes were knocked down.

Gentoo’s managing director of property services, Ian Porter, says the firm’s renewal plan will inject £163million into new builds in the city.

Another £100million will be spent on bringing existing homes up to scratch.

Thirteen years after the transfer of Sunderland City Council’s housing stock, Mr Porter says that bringing homes up to scratch is well underway.

He said: “We have had to demolish hundreds of properties. They had outlived their lifetime. Plans for all the empty spaces are in the renewal plan. It’s a long-term commitment. When you are spending that level of cash, it does take a long time.”

The programme, funded in part by government grants, also relies on sales of new homes. He said: “The difficulty when deciding properties are no longer fit for purpose, is to find a suitable settlement and agreement with owner occupiers.

“It hasn’t been easy. We had to make decisions throughout the city as to what stock would be safe to invest in.

“Where possible, we have tried to move neighbours together.

“It’s sad for the people who had to move but they will see a fantastic end result.

“When you look at what has been achieved over time and the transformation across the city – replacing old, tired stock with modern houses that will be here for a long time – is something we should be proud of.

“The customers should too, because we don’t do all the work.”

What’s going where?

Downhill: A mix of about 80 two to three bedroomed houses for sale and rent. Subject to planning, Gentoo are hoping to get started as soon as they can.

Doxford: 798 properties have been knocked down to date over five redevelopment phases. There are 42 properties left to be demolished. The aim is bigger houses, with more public open space, with a mix of sales and homes to let.

High Ford: 123 rented homes, predominantly three and four bedroomed houses, but also four beds and apartment. The aim is to get started on them next April.

Pennywell: The largest remaining phase of the renewal programme. No concrete plans yet, but Gentoo aims to make it part of the 2015-2018 funding round.

Ryhope: Currently on-site, building 142 rented homes, with one for sale.