With views of a windmill, spacious rooms, the latest energy-saving measures and a trendy design – it’s no wonder the first residents of new council houses in Blackpool are delighted with their home.
Angela and Mark Short, along with their children Jemma, 17, and Declan, 18, have moved into one of the new build homes completed during phase one of the £10m development at Troutbeck Crescent on Mereside.
A total of 75 homes are being built with completion due by April next year.
The modern houses and flats boasting gardens, balconies and car ports are a far cry from the blocks of 81 worn out flats built in the 1960s, which were demolished to make way for the investment.
Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH), which manages the properties on behalf of the council, estimated it would have cost £3m to bring the old flats up to modern standards.
Meanwhile they were proving difficult to let as tenants did not want them.
Angela, a support worker, had previously lived in Dean Street, South Shore, before moving to Troutbeck Crescent,
She said: “Our family has lived in Blackpool for some years but we were looking for a new home that better suited our needs.
“We saw the development at Troutbeck Crescent and when we viewed a three bedroom property we were impressed by the decent sized rooms and design. For us it was ideal.”
She added: “We were on the housing list for quite a long time, so it’s nice to be settled here – we don’t plan on moving again.The old flats which were demolished to make way for redevelopment
“Where we were before it was noisy and busy, and parking was difficult. Our new home is warm and we have double and triple glazing so you can’t hear traffic.
“We’re looking forward to meeting all our new neighbours and being part of the community here.”
The scheme is set to deliver 27 two bedroom houses, 18 three bedroom houses, two three bedroom accessible houses, nine two bedroom accessible houses and 19 one bedroom apartments which will be managed on behalf of the council by Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH).
The project has been funded by the council and supported with grant funding from Homes England under the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21.
Work began in September 2019 on the 2.3 hectare site which includes new green spaces to replace trees and vegetation removed to enable construction.
Sarah Speakman, head of strategic developments at Blackpool Housing Company which has overseen the project for the council, said the aim was to provide high standard accommodation with many of the specifications beating those found in privately build affordable homes.
This includes heating and insulation which will “reduce energy bills and keep people warm and comfortable.”
Sarah added: “They are council houses but they meet or exceed national technical standards for housing in terms of space and energy efficiency.
“We are trying to create homes that are fit for purpose and allow people to stay here and become part of the community.”
Coun Ivan Taylor, council deputy leader with responsibilities for housing, said: “The previous housing at Troutbeck Crescent had become increasingly unpopular and difficult to let – as a result there was a high turnover of tenants.
“The new homes reflect the properties that are in highest demand in Blackpool. They are well designed and offer economical and good living space for people with different requirements and needs.”
He added the investment vindicated the council’s decision not to sell off its housing stock.
He said: “We kept our housing stock years ago when early every council sold off their’s to housing associations.
“But we wouldn’t do it and projects like this show it was absolutely the right thing to do. People want good housing and deserve it, and we are determined to provide it.”
BCH chief executive John Donnellon, said: “This is a scheme that the council
and Blackpool can be proud of, replacing ageing accommodation with modern high quality housing for Blackpool residents.”
Further proposals for new council houses in Blackpool include 131 properties at Grange Park, with a planning application for the scheme submitted last month.