Work starts on specialist housing

The Pearson family with council officials at the new site in Longbenton.
The Pearson family with council officials at the new site in Longbenton.

Work has started on a new housing development with some properties for specialist respite care.

North Tyneside Council is investing more than £2m in the scheme at Queensbridge, Longbenton, which will offer a specialist four-person bungalow, a six-bedroom respite care centre for adults with a learning disability, plus seven two-bedroom houses for rent.

The bungalow will be perfect for our sons, who all use wheelchairs to get around.

Valerie Pearson

The development is on the site of the demolished Somervyl Court sheltered housing scheme.

The bungalow is being tailor-built for a family of brothers who all have an extremely rare and progressive neurological disorder. The siblings – Vincent, Russell, Nathan and Damien Pearson – need a wide range of specialist care.

Staff from North Tyneside Council and Kier North Tyneside have worked closely with the Pearson family to plan the property. The bungalow will include four en-suite bedrooms, plus accommodation quarters for a carer.

The boys’ parents, Michael and Valerie Pearson are delighted with the final designs.

Valerie said: “North Tyneside Council have kept us fully involved in the planning of the new house and we’ve been keeping our sons informed.

“The staff we worked with really listened to us and we were pleased to see lots of our ideas included in the final plans. The bungalow will be perfect for our sons, who all use wheelchairs to get around.”

A six-bedroom respite care facility will provide specialist short-break accommodation for adults with a learning disability, and local family carers have been heavily involved in its development and design.

Heather Riley, whose daughter Helen attends the respite service, said: “As full time carers we rely on regular respite to enable us to carry on with our caring roles.

“We have worked closely with North Tyneside Council at every stage to help get things right and have had a real say in decisions, including the site for the new building, the layout of the rooms and the furnishings.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the finished result, which will offer safe and happy stays in the future.”

The seven, two-bedroom terraced homes included in the development will be made available for affordable rent through Tyne and Wear Homes.

The Pearson family joined Mayor Norma Redfearn and other council officials to cut the first piece of earth to mark the official start of building work.

Mrs Redfearn said: “By bringing together housing, adult social care, health partners and families we have been able to shape and create these highly bespoke homes to meet some very complex needs. I hope the residents who will benefit from them will be very happy here.”

Kier North Tyneside are North Tyneside Council’s design and build partner for the entire development, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Kier regional director, Mike Furze, said: “We are proud to be delivering this bespoke project, which will be of significant benefit to local residents with specific care needs for years to come.

“By working in partnership with our colleagues at North Tyneside Council on their affordable homes programme, we are making a real difference to improving the quality of housing for people across the borough.”