Work starts on Gentoo 'affordable' housing scheme in Penshaw at site of historic listed building - despite protests over noise and traffic fears

Work has started on a new multi million pound housing development in Penshaw, despite protests.

The “eco-friendly residential affordable housing scheme” for the over-55s and will feature 72 self-contained one and two-bedroom apartments over three storeys.

Named Penshaw Gardens, it is being developed by Vistry Partnerships North East (VPNE), for housing association Gentoo Group.

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The partnership will see a brownfield site previously used for office space by Sunderland City Council redeveloped for affordable housing.

From left. Nigel Wilson, Gentoo CEO, Ali Johnson, Gentoo head of development, Michael Duffy, assistant development manager and Andrew Rennie, development director, both of Vistry Partnerships North East.
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Protesters also claimed that nearby Gilwood Court already offered over-55 accommodation and had empty flats.

According to developers, the buildings will be eco-friendly, with green energy technology such as air source heat pumps and no gas supply, to minimise carbon emissions.

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Local resident Annika Martin was one of the opponents of the scheme, with fears for biodiversity and the Grade II-listed Penshaw House behind her.

The site features a walled garden, which will also be restored and brought back into use alongside the new apartment complex.

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Brains behind the scheme added properties will be “modern and extremely spacious, meeting nationally described space standards (NDSS). There will also be free on-site parking, including electric car charging points, and an internal buggy storage area with direct access into the building”.

All 72 properties will be made available for “affordable” rent via Gentoo, set by according to a government formula at 80% of the local market rent.

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Gentoo’s Nigel Wilson, chief executive officer said: “We’re delighted work is underway at our new Penshaw Gardens development. This is an important part of our affordable homes programme and we look forward to working with Vistry Partnerships North East to deliver it.

The 72 properties at Penshaw Gardens will look like this.
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“Between 2015 and 2029 the number of people over the age of 65 in Sunderland is expected to increase by 42% and Gentoo currently has more than 6,0000 people on its housing register over the age of 55. This scheme will provide much needed affordable housing for those people.”

Development director at Vistry Partnerships North East, Andrew Rennie, said: “This project will deliver new, high quality, affordable housing for older members of the community and we’re pleased to be playing our part in helping Gentoo to meet housing need in Sunderland.”