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Newton Heath social housing development celebrates final completion

13/02/2024

Silk St Aerial CREDIT MCAU

69 low carbon homes for social rent have now been completed and residents have been welcomed to their new homes on Silk Street in north Manchester.

The long-term brownfield site overlooking the Rochdale Canal has been developed and brought back into use by the Council delivering 36 one-bedroom apartments, 12 two-bedroom apartments, 17 two storey, three-bedroom houses; and 4 three storey, four-bedroom houses.  

16 of the apartments will be made available to people over the age of 55, who are right-sizing from larger council properties in Newton Heath, and across north Manchester. 

Each of the townhouses feature solar panels, a new kitchen and bathroom, generous gardens and private driveways with electric charging points. 

Each of the apartments have a balcony alongside shared outdoor space – and the building will be greened through living walls and living green roofs.  

The properties will make use of Ground Source Heat Pumps and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to keep utility costs down for residents.  

The apartments have been built to HAPPI design principles that provide larger internal space as standard, which accommodate someone using a wheelchair, along with extra storage space. This means they can also be adapted to meet the needs of the tenants. 

Meet the neighbourhood 

Christine Durber 

Christine moved into her apartment in Chiffon House in September. 

She had lived in her four-bedroom home in Clayton for 27 years, and it was perfect for bringing up her three children. Now the kids have moved on, Christine was starting to feel uneasy living in such a big property on her own.  

This is where the Council’s right-sizing officer was able to help. Christine was shown a new apartment, and she was offered extra help with the move.  

“I fell in love with it,” Christine said. “The Council arranged the removal company for me, and I was given some money to help with the extra costs. It paid for new blinds and flooring. It was great to get that bit of help, it really took the hassle out of the move.” 

Christine’s apartment has been built to low carbon specifications, there is no gas supply to the property and her electric comes from a ground source heat pump.

“The flat’s lovely and warm and the bills are great,” she said, “I was paying £160 a month in my old house and I’m now paying around £58, and this will come down even more in the summer because I won’t need the heating on.” 

Christine’s apartment was one of 16 set aside for people aged over 55 who are rightsizing into a more manageable home and the move has brought her so many benefits. 

“I feel very content here. I sleep better, I love the views and I can’t wait to see how they change when the summer comes.  

I used to rely on my kids to take me shopping, but now with so many shops on my doorstep I can do my own, I’m getting out most days and feeling more independent.” 

Donna Smith 

Donna moved into her ground floor apartment in November 2023. 

Donna and her husband have five grown-up children but as they moved out, their larger three-bedroom homes in Newton Heath became too much for them.  

Donna has suffered with arthritis for many years and the condition is worsening as she gets older. The stairs had become a daily challenge, and the large garden was too much for her to manage. 

The Council was able to step in and offered them a new ground floor two-bedroom apartment in the development.  

“I was delighted to be offered an apartment on one level. We have so much space and everything is so much easier for me.” Donna said. 

With everything on one level Donna no longer has stairs to worry about and the bathroom is a fully accessible wet room so that Donna no longer has to struggle to get in and out of the bath. 

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The use of local labour, apprentices, and local suppliers has contributed to the overall impact of the scheme. A close relationship was also built with site neighbours including Bright Futures nursery with help provided towards improving outdoor spaces and equipment together with VIP visits for the nursery children. 

This investment is part of Manchester City Council’s commitment to build 36,000 new homes through to 2032 – part of the city’s ambitious housing strategy. 10,000 of these homes will be genuinely affordable to Manchester people, supporting our residents to live safe, happy and prosperous lives.  

Leader of the Council Cllr Bev Craig, said: 

“We are investing in our communities across the Manchester with a real focus on our district centres and affordable housing investment to meet the needs of our residents in their local areas.  

“Through our housing strategy we have committed to help build 36,000 new homes across the city in the next decade – and at least 10,000 of these will be genuinely affordable for Manchester people.

“At this development, using Council-owned land, we have made sure that every house is available at social rent to help meet demand for high-quality affordable homes in this area – and ensure that as many people as possible can access these properties.” 

Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and employment, said:  

“I have followed this development from day one – through planning and I was onsite when the first diggers arrived. This development is a great example of what we want from our affordable housing investment.  

“Not only are we delivering new social housing for our residents and supporting them to move from larger homes into properties that better suit their needs – we have also brought a long-term brownfield piece of public land back into use.  

“These low carbon homes are also cheap to run, well insulated and heated through ground source heat pumps – supporting these residents to spend less on their energy during the cost-of-living crisis. 

“But most importantly, we aren’t just building property – we’re building a sustainable, happy community of people who have pride in their homes and love for their neighbourhood. This should be at the heart of successful regeneration.” 

David Chilton, managing director, Rowlinson, said:    

“This a fabulous development, built to an enhanced specification delivering tangible sustainability benefits, pushing the boundary of responsible and resilient social housing. From construction through to now seeing the residents in their new homes, it's a success for all the partners involved."