MP visits development

28th September 2021 | posted in News

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison has given her seal of approval to a new affordable housing development which is underway on the site of an historic local building.

The MP was given a tour of the former King James School site which is being redeveloped by Railway Housing Association in partnership with local contractor T Manners & Sons Ltd.

Accompanied by the Association’s Chief Executive Anne Rowlands, Dehenna was given a glimpse of the work which is underway to build 28 affordable homes for local people

This includes the sympathetic restoration of the front of the main Grade II listed building - often referred to as the Laurel Building after the school’s most famous former popular pupil – Stan Laurel - which was badly damaged in a fire in 2007.

The building is being converted into 12 two-bedroom apartments with a further 16 two-bedroom bungalows being built at the rear, in a cul-de-sac layout. All the homes will be let to older people.

Dehenna said: “It was great to see the site and see the properties taking shape. I was particularly impressed by the fact that the historic frontage of the building will be maintained. This will be a great development for older people in the heart of our community.”

Anne Rowlands said: “It was a pleasure to be able to show Dehenna our plans for this new development.

“The front part of the building, which dates back to 1875, is being retained so it will be very much in keeping with the history of the site.

“At the same time, we will be transforming a disused site to provide much-needed, high quality, energy efficient two-bedroom older person’s accommodation in the town.”

Although the rest of the building will need to be demolished, due to its poor and unstable condition, the Association is using materials in keeping with its history, including a Victorian-style tiled roof.

Wayne Harris, Construction Director for T Manners, said: “We are delighted to be working on this interesting project with Railway Housing Association. We are a local long-established company whose original offices in Peel Street were very near to the site which adds to our satisfaction at being involved in the development.”

The total cost of the development, the first stage of which is set for completion in March 2022, is £5.2 million which includes a grant of £1.1 million from Homes England.

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