Plans to build affordable homes on the former Bellingham Auction Mart site in Northumberland have taken a step forward with Esh Construction now appointed as contractor.

The £12.8 million contract will be delivered in partnership with Karbon Homes to bring much-needed affordable housing to the centre of Bellingham.

Plans were given the green light last year for 14 bungalows, 14 apartments and 15 houses for affordable rent and rent to buy tenures, along with 20 care ready supported housing apartments which will be available for shared ownership.

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.”

The development is a part of Karbon’s £131.5 million strategic partnership with Homes England to develop 2,200 much-needed affordable homes across the North East and Yorkshire. Due to the rural location of Bellingham, these new homes will contribute towards Karbon’s pledge to develop at least 10% of the 2,200 funded homes in rural communities.

Zoey Hawthorne, Assistant Director of Development Delivery at Karbon Homes: “We’re delighted to announce Esh Construction as the lead contractor for this development. We have worked with Esh Construction on a number of affordable housing developments across the North East over the last few years and have a great working relationship with the team. 

“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.”

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

A grant has been secured from the North of Tyne Combined Authority via the Government’s Brownfield Housing Fund which allows local authorities to target investment towards brownfield sites in the region. Bellingham Auction Mart ceased trading in 2000’s and the site has lay disused for 13 years following the buildings being demolished in 2010.

The scheme was brought forward in partnership with developers, Maple Oak Living. Esh Construction is expected to commence work on site in summer 2023 and will deliver the scheme in partnership with Elliott Associates, Portland Consulting Engineers, ERGO Projects, DRC Consulting and SINE Consulting.