SPADES will soon be in the ground to bring 63 new homes to Bellingham.

It comes after Esh Construction has been appointed contractor for the former Auction Mart site, which has lay disused for 13 years.

The £12.8m contract will be delivered in partnership with Karbon Homes and is expected to start June 23.

Hexham Courant: Plans were given the green light last year for 14 bungalows, 14 apartments and 15 houses for affordable rent and rent to buy tenures, and 20 care ready, supported housing apartments available for shared ownership.  

Previous plans driven forward by Maple Oak Living had been recommended refusal.

READ MORE: Concerns raised over suitability of approved 63-home development

The new homes will bring extensive investment to the area through Section 106 commitments, including £16.5k towards increasing primary healthcare infrastructure capacity and £16.5k for amenity green space, parks and gardens, and children and young people's play and informal recreation facilities.

This £33,000 commitment was agreed in the formal planning consent for the development earlier this month after an independent consultant assessed Maple Oak Living’s viability report on behalf of Northumberland County Council, carried out in June 2022, acknowledged that the original section 106 asks, totalling £100,000, would not be viable. 

Chris Hale, pre-construction director at Esh Construction, said: “We understand the importance of rural communities remaining both affordable and sustainable for current and future generations while finding the balance in the design to ensure new homes blend into countryside living. 

“We look forward to getting work underway in the coming months to deliver new homes that will help address the shortage of affordable housing options in Northumberland, while also bringing a derelict brownfield site back into use.” 

Zoey Hawthorne, assistant director of development delivery at Karbon Homes added: “Providing more affordable homes in rural communities like Bellingham is something we’re really passionate about and we’ve worked hard to design a scheme that provides options for residents of varying ages. We look forward to work getting started.” 

A grant has also been secured for the site from the North of Tyne Combined Authority via the Government’s Brownfield Housing Fund.