Hundreds of new homes at heart of economic recovery in Sunderland

Exciting new plans to kick-start vital social and economic recovery in Sunderland post COVID-19 have been submitted

Sunderland-based housing association Gentoo Group has finalised plans for a major £45m investment into new affordable housing following a public consultation across the city.

Working in partnership with Homes England, the housing provider has submitted plans to build 268 new homes that will become available for affordable rent or shared ownership at various developments in Sunderland.

If approved, Gentoo’s plans will be delivered over the next two years, supporting 693 jobs in the city, with an estimated 279 jobs created on site and 441 in the wider economy, putting its new housing schemes and other key construction schemes on Wearside, such as Riverside Sunderland, at the heart of post COVID-19 recovery in the city.

Coupled with Sunderland City Council’s ambitious ongoing regeneration programme with projects such as Riverside Sunderland, the Strategic Transport Corridor and the new Music Arts and Culture Quarter in the city centre are rapidly taking shape, the construction sector is set to be the driving force to improving the local area for the city’s residents when it is needed most. 

The schemes, if approved, could also bring around £5.5 million vital extra spend to the city and the region, with £1.5 million of this retained in Sunderland. Driving much needed investment into companies including those selling furnishings, home supplies and DIY.

The Group is proposing to create exciting and affordable new places to live, from bungalows for the city’s ageing population, to modern, contemporary and spacious two, three and four family properties, the homes will mark the start of a new era for affordable homes in Sunderland. As part of Gentoo’s approach to meeting zero carbon, it is also looking to implement carbon saving measures to its new homes. 

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Gentoo Group, said:

“Sunderland is a city in transformation and it’s clear the significant amount of development and construction work that is ongoing across Wearside will be the catalyst for social and economic growth post COVID-19. We’re pleased to playing our part by submitting plans to build much needed new modern affordable rented housing that our tenants and the people of Sunderland deserve.”

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, said:

“There’s a lot of fantastic work going on in Sunderland with all our partners delivering a range of housing and regeneration projects. Housing for all includes more affordable homes, bungalows for older people, and more appropriate accommodation for people who need support.

As well as meeting local housing needs, new works and development help create the dynamic, healthy and vibrant city our residents deserve and have told us they want to see. Gentoo are very much part of this work.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said:

“High quality housing for everyone in Sunderland is an absolute priority for this City Council. As a council we work closely with all developers and are supportive of Gentoo’s plans and its contribution to making Sunderland more dynamic, healthy and vibrant. Plus, when we keep contractors and the supply chain as local as possible we all help support businesses in the North East.

“By building new homes, and with continued development in our infrastructure, we are all offering more housing choice and continuing our city’s social and economic transformation.”

Last year Gentoo Group announced a major £117 million investment into affordable housing in Sunderland, committing to creating 900 additional homes in the city by 2024. And while the pandemic has created national economic uncertainty, the housing association is continuing to drive forward its plans to meet the city’s growing housing needs.

With the government’s furlough scheme gradually winding down and unemployment rates expected to significantly increase, these jobs will be available at a time when the city, and the region, could face serious job shortages. And as we look beyond the pandemic, this job creation is set to extend across the next five years as the housing association pushes forward plans to build its next 600 homes.

Along with other businesses in Sunderland, Gentoo is proving it is open for business and moving the city’s transformation forward, putting its ambitious plans for homes that its tenants can be proud of, at the heart of economic recovery in Sunderland.