Residents have moved into 18 new homes built on the site of a former magistrates’ court in County Durham.

Housing association believe housing developed the two and three-bed homes at Chambers Court, in Consett — regenerating the brownfield site and creating opportunities for people to rent or buy their ideal home.

Among the new residents is Lisa Price.

She moved from a privately rented property in the town to a Rent to Buy house, with her children Harvey and Lexi.

Lisa said: “I wanted more security and the chance to own my own home. Moving here gave me that opportunity.

“I feel relieved, content. We’re all happy here.

“The kids and I just want to make the house and garden our own, hopefully my forever home.”

Consett Magistrates’ Court closed in 2016 and the government’s housing and regeneration agency, Homes England, marketed and sold the land for residential use.

In 2019, believe housing acquired the site and demolished the disused court building. And in spring 2022, North West Durham MP Richard Holden broke the ground to mark the start construction.

Kate Abson, Director of Development at believe housing, said: “It’s so rewarding to see people settling into their new homes and creating a community, after we regenerated this once-derelict, prominent site within Consett.

“Such a huge effort went into completing this development, because we knew there was demand for new homes that are affordable to local people.

“It took two years to gain planning permission and we had to find a new builder after the original contractor withdrew. Thankfully, Homes by Carlton came onboard and have built us 18 beautiful high-quality and energy-efficient homes.

“These are our first homes in Consett, and they’ve proved really popular with an average of 206 bids for each of the five affordable rent properties and nearly 200 inquiries for the 13 Rent to Buys.”

The development was made viable by Homes England which awarded believe housing £760,500 in grant funding from the Affordable Homes Programme (2021-26), to help with the high cost of clearing and redeveloping the site.

A spokesperson for Homes England said: “There are many challenges currently affecting housing delivery however, despite these challenges, accelerating housebuilding remains our number one priority.

“As an organisation we are committed to supporting believe housing and our investment through affordable housing grant allows us to do that.

“We’re delighted that this funding has enabled believe housing to deliver much needed new homes in Consett.”