Final approval for £300m scheme

Norma Redfearn and Coun John Harrison show the plans to Rudyerd Court residents Joyce Jasper, Margaret Watson (centre) and Dougie Jordan.
Norma Redfearn and Coun John Harrison show the plans to Rudyerd Court residents Joyce Jasper, Margaret Watson (centre) and Dougie Jordan.

A £300m improvement scheme for sheltered housing in the borough has been given the final go-ahead.

Mayor Norma Redfearn visited Rudyerd Court in North Shields to personally tell residents that North Tyneside Council’s private finance initiative had overcome its final hurdle.

The project will see more than 900 apartments for rent to the over 60s, across ten new and 16 refurbished sheltered housing schemes.

Work is due to begin on sites within the next few weeks.

The first phase will see four new build schemes at Bristol Drive, Battle Hill; Chapelville, Seaton Burn; Crummock Court, Howdon; and Rosebery Court, Monkseaton.

And it also includes five refurbished schemes at Eccles Court, Backworth; Rudyerd Court, North Shields; Rosebank Hall, Howdon; Feetham Court, Forest Hall; and Fernlea, Annitsford.

All 26 schemes in the project will be completed over the next three years.

Mrs Redfearn said: “I am delighted that after so long we can eventually say to our tenants that this project will happen and they will have lovely new homes in the near future.

“This is one of the biggest schemes in the country and will make a real difference for our older people by transforming and revitalising retirement living available for rent in North Tyneside.

“Tenants will be able to enjoy a modern home with its own front door, and live in accommodation that is designed to the latest standards so they can continue to live independently, even if their needs change in the future.”

The project will also help the council tackle the borough’s housing waiting list as vacancies in each scheme will be let to new tenants as the work is completed.

Coun John Harrison, cabinet member for housing and the environment, said: “We were determined to make sure that all our older people have modern, appropriate homes that were fit for them to live in not just today, but also tomorrow if their health needs changed.

“There have been so many challenges put in the way to getting the homes they deserve, but now we have eventually got sign-off from the government, the money is in place, and planning permission is all in place.

“We can say to our residents – it’s a reality and you are going to have the homes you deserve and have waited so patiently for.”

The scheme will be delivered by Solutions 4 North Tyneside – a consortium consisting of Equitix and Miller Construction.

Solutions 4 North Tyneside director, Phil Harris said: “We are delighted to have reached this key milestone working in partnership with North Tyneside Council in developing our solutions.

“Now we are looking forward to starting work on site and helping to make a real change to the lives of older people in North Tyneside.”

Every tenant has been fully involved in the arrangements and planning and will be given full support throughout the process.

Margaret Watson, a resident of 15 years at Rudyerd Court, said: “This is absolutely great.

“Everyone was so happy when we were told the news – in fact one lady was so pleased she jumped for joy. We’ve waited a long time and we can’t wait to see it when it’s all done and looking beautiful.”

All the new apartments are designed to be able to meet the needs of over 60s now and in the future.

Each tenant has their own apartment with state-of-the-art bathrooms/wet rooms and kitchens and access to services and facilities on their doorstep.

The apartments are accessible by wheelchair and there are facilities for the storage of motor scooters for those who need them.

There will be communal spaces, where a range of services can be provided.

Each scheme will also benefit from access to a full-time, site based housing officer, on duty between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.