Next steps approved on project to create housing for people with disabilities in Sunderland

Sunderland City Council bosses have backed proposals to acquire specialist accommodation to help support people with learning and physical disabilities.

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 6:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 7:40 pm
Sunderland Civic Centre

The scheme involves 15 bungalows which will be built by local construction business MCC Homes Ltd and bought by the council upon completion, as part of a ‘turnkey’ agreement.

Council chiefs discussed the plans earlier this week, which are linked to a site on Hylton Road.

However, the acquisition is subject to financial assessments that meet the requirements of the council.

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“It’s just another really exciting project and I think it shows the council’s real commitment to becoming a local registered housing provider,” said councillor Rebecca Atkinson, cabinet member for Dynamic City.

“This isn’t just grand plans and lip service, this is work in action that will change our residents’ lives.

“We’re building homes, we’re buying homes and we’re making the changes for people’s futures and I think that is so important.”

Cllr Atkinson was speaking at a cabinet meeting on November 17, which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube.

A report prepared for the cabinet reads: “The project has been identified with colleagues in adult social care as offering an opportunity to provide appropriate accommodation that will meet significant demand for people with learning and physical disabilities as well as wider needs.”

The planned acquisition of the new build bungalows would also allow the council to deliver against targets in the housing delivery and investment plan.

This includes 15 against a target of 22 for the west area of Sunderland.

Following the cabinet decision, the terms of the acquisition will be agreed by the council’s executive director of neighbourhoods in consultation with the executive director of corporate services and cabinet member for Dynamic City.

An application is also expected to be made to Homes England for grant funding to support the council’s plan to acquire the bungalows.

Deputy council leader, councillor Paul Stewart, welcomed the plans and the involvement of a local company.

He said: “It’s important that this council works with the small to medium-sized enterprise sector in this city and [this] is a prime example of how the council can work with small businesses to ensure that we achieve the aims and objectives of our strategic plan as a city.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, councillor Graeme Miller, added: “Whilst unsurprisingly major schemes like Riverside Sunderland and the Sunderland Future Living Expo grab the headlines about this city’s determination and drive to transform itself and give its residents what we need in the 21st Century going forward, it actually is schemes like this where we’re taking ownership on our housing and our social housing issues.

“We are building with local businesses, keeping the Sunderland pound in Sunderland, delivering on our pledges and commitments on community wealth building, delivering on everything that we have said about when people work hard in the city, they should get paid for it.

“That brings me onto mentioning again, Sunderland being the first local authority in the North East to be a real living wage employer and moving that commitment into supply chain.”

Cllr Miller went on to say: “It cannot be underestimated how important it is that we take ownership of these problems and I’m delighted that we’ve brought this forward today and it shows our ongoing commitment to dealing with the issues on our housing and doing it ourselves.”

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