The keys to 16 new properties have been handed over, supporting more Sunderland residents to access affordable housing in the city.

Sunderland City Council has taken possession of an attractive new site at Old Mill Road, Southwick, providing much-needed new homes for residents in an area of high-demand.

Five new 3-bedroom family homes and 11 2-bed bungalows for older people, are set to welcome their first residents, with the properties now part of the council’s growing housing stock, designed to deliver good-quality, affordable accommodation for rent.

The scheme, which has been developed by Sunderland-based MCC Homes, not only adds much-needed house-types to the city market, but has also helped sustain and create 25 jobs for local people during its development.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, Dynamic City Portfolio Holder at Sunderland City Council, said: “This site is a real win-win.  Not only has working with MCC Homes accelerated the delivery of 16 new homes in a well-established residential area, but it has allowed us to back a business that is creating jobs and opportunities for local people and suppliers too.

“We’re delighted to have worked in partnership with MCC Homes on this important development.”

MCC Homes, which delivered five bungalows in Elmwood Avenue, Southwick, for the council two years ago, completed its largest development to date in Old Mill Road.

The Monkwearmouth based housing company was founded in 2017 and specialises in delivering smaller residential developments that take unused pockets of land and bring them back to life. Its Old Mill Road scheme – like Elmwood Avenue before it – took an area of land that had become a magnet for fly tipping and anti-social behaviour and brought it back into use, providing much-needed homes for people in the city.

Luke Lee, Head of Operations of MCC Homes, said: “We’re a local team from Sunderland and care about the city, so it’s great to play a part in transforming disused pockets of land into attractive new communities.

“The relationship with the council has enabled us to sustainably grow our business, develop the skills of our existing employees and nurture the talent of our apprentices on this fantastic journey.

Before striking up its relationship with the council, MCC Homes concentrated on its own private developments, mainly in Sunderland.  The company now employs 15 people directly including 3 apprentices.

The council’s investment in Old Mill Road is part of an ambitious plan that has seen the local authority once again become a Registered Housing Provider, renting its first homes in more than 20 years.

It has also begun a programme of construction – building its first new properties in 40 years – as well as buying homes developed by MCC Homes to create new housing stock that meets the needs of the city’s residents.

In a five-year £59m Housing Delivery and Investment Plan (HDIP), the council set out ambitious plans to ensure that residents have access to the homes they need as they grow older; that vulnerable residents are able to live in properties that support them to live independently for longer, in which they are supported to live happy, fulfilled lives; and that empty homes, that so often blight their community, are returned to use, creating attractive new homes for our residents.

Old Mill Road is one of a number of HDIP schemes that will deliver 193 accessible properties by 2025, as well as 210 general-needs homes – suitable for families – through conversion of empty homes across the city and 171 supported homes, designed to help people who are taking their steps towards independence or who are at risk of homelessness.