Former site of anti-social behaviour in Wellingborough is being transformed into new housing scheme
A building project to turn a derelict parade of shops into 23 affordable homes in Wellingborough could be finished by the summer.
The new housing development, called Solomon Place, in Lea Way in the town, was formerly shops, take-away outlets and a launderette, but had been derelict for several years.
It had become a magnet for anti-social behaviour but it is now being transformed by Greatwell Homes into 23 affordable one- and two-bedroom properties, of which 12 will be available for rent and 11 through the Government's Rent-to-Buy scheme.
Wellingborough Borough Council leader Martin Griffiths, who is the ward councillor for Brickhill where the site resides, said: “Over the years this area has sadly become a target for anti-social activity and the derelict appearance of the site completely upset the street scene of an otherwise attractive and very popular residential part of our town.
“We have faced a number of challenges to bring this previously disused site forward for development, including a compulsory purchase order, however, we are delighted to see how this area has transformed and is taking shape.
"I look forward to the opening of the new homes and the new residents moving in and calling Solomon Place home."
The site is due to be finished this summer and the developer is now taking applications for the Rent-to-Buy flats, which are designed to help people transition from renting to buying their own home. Under the scheme, buyers will rent one of the newly-built houses at an affordable rent for up to five years and after that time have the option to buy the property.
Wellingborough Borough Council compulsory purchased the site when the shops became vacant to stamp out troublesome behaviour in the area.
The site was then bought from the council by Greatwell Homes, then known as Wellingborough Homes, and the scheme benefited from funding from the Government's housing, land and regeneration agency Homes England.
Greatwell Homes appointed Lincoln-based contractor Lindum Group to build the scheme, which is named Solomon Place in honour of former Greatwell Homes customer Stella Solomon, who was the first female police officer in Northamptonshire and lived in Lea Way for many years.
Denise Lewis, director of assets and development at Greatwell Homes, said: “I am delighted that we, alongside the Lindum Group and Wellingborough Borough Council, have turned this previously derelict site into 23 much-needed new affordable homes for local families in housing need.
"We look forward to seeing the scheme completed and welcoming 23 families into their new homes."
She added that the 11 flats available through Rent-to-Buy will help those who cannot yet afford to buy a home on the open market but could do with a little help. The scheme allows them to save for a deposit while paying an affordable rent, eventually enabling them to get on the property ladder in a few years’ time.
Applications for the Rent-to-Buy scheme are open until Monday, August 5, and anyone interested can apply at the website www.greatwellliving.org.uk.
Greatwell Homes is one of the largest housing associations in Northamptonshire. It owns and manages nearly 5,000 homes and has been running since December 2007 following a stock transfer from the council.