A DEVELOPMENT of 24 bungalows on a former allotment site have been completed.

The new two-bedroom homes have been created on the disused site at Steel Street, in Consett and are being let to people aged 50 and over.

The homes, built bv Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association, feature solar panels to heat water and underground tanks to capture and recycle water.

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Among the first tenants to move in was 67-year-old cancer sufferer Norma Savage, from nearby Leadgate, who wanted to move closer to her family.

She said: "The stairs in my old home were getting too much for me and it meant I had started to lose much of my independence.

"I have been on a waiting list for a bungalow for some time, but now I am in my new home it has been well worth it – it has very quickly become my little heaven.

"Living in a new bungalow means I have no longer got the stress of walking up and down the stairs and I am hoping it will make a big difference to my health."

The Association, which has built 50 new homes across County Durham so far this year, received £1.2m funding from the Homes and Communities Agency towards the cost of the development.

Part of the money raised by the sale of the site has gone towards providing replacement allotments at nearby Blackhill.

Coun Clive Robson, Durham County Council Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "The acute shortage and the ever increasing demand for elderly persons accommodation within the social sector of housing means that this particular scheme, which also provides key energy efficiency elements too, is proving to be very popular with the local people of Consett and surrounding villages.