Scores of affordable new homes will be built in Northumberland, thanks to the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).

A £12.8 million development in Bellingham, on the border of Northumberland National Park, will include care-supported homes for older people and people with disabilities, and affordable housing for people seeking to stay in or move to Bellingham.

The 63-home development on the site of the former Bellingham Auction Mart was made possible by a £1,369,543 NTCA  Brownfield Housing Fund investment and will be delivered in partnership with Esh Construction and Karbon Homes.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “At one point there’d be 20,000 sheep in Bellingham Auction Mart, at its busiest. Since it was demolished, it’s become an eyesore.

“But thanks to our investment, this land is going to host 63 affordable homes. That will mean if people choose to, they can live their whole lives in Bellingham. This is the sort of thing that very delicately regenerates our rural places.”

Bellingham Auction Mart closed for business in 2004, with the sale of nearly 10,000 sheep taking place in October of that year. Since then, the 4.65-acre site of the historic mart has stood empty, leading to complaints from residents the land had become an eyesore at the heart of the town.

Construction work is due to begin this summer on 14 bungalows, 14 apartments, and 15 houses for affordable rent and rent to buy, alongside 20 supported housing apartments which will be available for shared ownership.

Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Michael Huson stoood on concrete land with grassy fields surrounding them at the site of Bellingham Auction Mart

Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Michael Huson at the site of Bellingham Auction Mart

Residents are looking forward to the mart site being put to good use. Manager of the Fountain Cottage Café and B&B Michael Hudson moved to Bellingham from Morpeth. T

he dad of two, aged 30, said: “The redevelopment of this land is a win all around. The fact it’s social housing for people that need houses is even better. More than anything, it’s providing homes for local people.”

Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Michael Hudson walking through a field of concrete and glass

Mayor Jamie Driscoll and Michael Hudson at the Bellingham Mart site

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.

Assistant Director of Development Delivery at Karbon Homes Zoey Hawthorne said: “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.

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.