A politician’s answer

I this week had the pleasure of showing Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey around Railway Housing Association’s new £8 million affordable housing scheme in Darlington.



This 73-home development (which is massive by our standards) was built close to the historic 1825 Darlington to Stockton Railway Line and this meant a lot of planning had to go into the scheme, including ensuring the sympathetic conversion of a former engine shed (dating back to 1844) which despite its rundown, dilapidated condition had listed building status.

John visits many new developments in his role, so he must be hard to impress, however he referred to our scheme as a “model development”, which was high praise indeed.

He was particularly impressed by the mix of houses we had been able to incorporate into the development, including 12 two-bedroom bungalows.

John was correct when said new build bungalows area rarity these days, but given the majority of our residents are over-50, it’s something we specialise in and with this development it was always our intention to create a new, mixed community so that’s why alongside the bungalows, we have one-bedroom apartments and two and three bedroom family homes – all on a plot which was previously overgrown and neglected.

It was nice to get such great feedback from John and Jenny Chapman, the Darlington MP who accompanied him, but perhaps even more important were the comments made by a couple who kindly agreed to show our guests their home.

Martyn and Joyce Lewis are living in one of our bungalows, having downsized from their family home.

They said “If we were asked to give it marks out of ten, it would be off the scale because the home is so good.”

Now that’s a politician’s answer!

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