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Biggest housing scheme in north-east underway

A new £265 million construction project to build thousands of new homes in the north-east of England is set to get underway.

Up to 1,800 new residential properties are set to be built as part of the scheme, which was first put forward some 13 years ago, but ran into a number of difficulties in getting off the ground.

Residents at the 60-hectare site were first promised they would be able to move into new homes by the end of 2002. However, problems regarding unstable mine shafts below the area first had to be dealt with and this took far longer than expected.

In addition, the onset of the economic downturn in 2008 meant funding issues arose for the scheme and it is only now coming to fruition after years of being in the pipeline.

The project is to be overseen by the New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) - a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Barratt and Keepmoat - and the first 377 homes at Scotswood in the west end of Newcastle city centre will be delivered over the coming months.

Duncan Bowman, development director for NTWDC, said: "We are at a point where house building can begin on this fabulous site.

"All those concerned deserve great credit for making this happen, not least the local residents who have shown great patience and support when things have taken longer than hoped - as is always the case on major projects such as this."

He added the next few weeks and months will be "exciting times" for the local community.

Residents and representatives from NTWDC met for a turf-cutting ceremony at the site of the first new home on the banks of the Tyne River on Wednesday (August 7th), with the project forecast to take between 15 and 20 years to complete.

Council leader Nick Forbes concluded the rebuilding of Scotswood is an "important milestone" and the local authority is extremely grateful for the hard work and support of the community in helping to bring these plans to fruition, at long last. 

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