At home in New Forest's new council houses
Local families are making themselves at home in the first 9 of 21 new council homes built by New Forest District Council on the North Milton estate, in the largest development of council housing in the New Forest for more than 20 years.
Tenants will move into the remaining twelve new homes by the end of February.
Councillor Jill Cleary, portfolio holder for housing and communities, said "Social housing in this area is in great demand so I am delighted to see local families moving into these much-needed new homes. Many of them have been waiting for several years and it is wonderful to see the positive difference that these high-quality new homes will make to their lives.
"And this is just the start," continued Cllr Cleary "In the next three years we will be building another 55 new homes for local people, and we're developing a new homes strategy that will help us to address the pressing need for affordable homes in the New Forest well into the future."
Councillor Cleary saw the finished homes when she visited new tenants Alex and Steve Hood in the new three bedroom house that is now home to them and their children Ellie (12) and Charlie (7).
Alex and Steve, who both work full-time, have been on the council's waiting list for a house for nearly eight years. "Our son and daughter are so excited to have their own rooms after sharing a bedroom for so long and to have a garden to enjoy" said Alex, "We've been living in a two bed flat but now our daughter is at secondary school, she really needs her own space to do her homework. We are thrilled to bits."
Darren Gill, Managing Director for Bouygues UK's Housing business in the region, who were the main contractor on the project, said:
"We are very proud to be involved in a scheme that will have such a positive impact on the local community. As well as the new homes we are building, we will also be making extensive landscaping improvements to the surrounding area, providing existing residents with improved facilities and increased accessibility throughout the estate."
Councillor Cleary concluded: "I would particularly like to thank local residents for bearing with us during the build and I hope they will see the benefits of the changes we have been making to the estate."
The new homes, built on land on the New Milton estate already owned by the council by contractor Bouygues UK, cost £3.7million, with a further £2.1million being spent on upgrading the whole estate. They are a mix of small terraces, chalet bungalows and detached properties providing one four bedroom, six three bedroom and 14 two-bedroom homes for rent to local people on the council's Homesearch register. The homes have been built to the highest standards of sustainability, making them environmentally friendly, cost effective to maintain and cheaper for tenants to run.