BUILDING work has started on the first phase of a prestigious housing development.

The move sees civil and building works underway on the new Eastern Village as part of the initial phase of the redevelopment of Lambton Park, the ancestral seat of the Earl of Durham.

This will involve creating a new southern estate gateway that will set the scene for the development of a Victorian character area on the historic site.

It will feature 69 luxury four and five bed terraced properties framing a formal boulevard.

Craig Van Bedaf, director of architects, Pod, said the project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to design new housing in an exceptional setting.

He said: “Our ambition for the first phase of housing at Lambton Park is grand and reflects our ability to fashion a sense of time and place from concept through to final delivery.

“Architectural excellence delivered through imaginative and contextual responses, has seen us draw on the plethora of individual features and the architectural language of the existing buildings; interpreting, incorporating and enriching these in our overarching design concept.”

The first properties, which will be ready later this year, are part of a project that will eventually see hundreds of new homes, offices, shops and open spaces created on the 200-acre site, providing funds for investment in the estate’s significant heritage assets and thriving community.

The sale of new homes will help to fund conservation work on a host of listed buildings across Lambton Park, including the restoration of the castle and the iconic Lamb Bridge.

Upwards of 500 jobs are linked to the housebuilding phase of the development, with further positions created as part of the wider regeneration of Lambton Park.

The work is the culmination of several years of design, planning and construction services work by Toffee Factory-based Pod with the developer Miller Homes and is based on a close working relationship.

Mr Van Bedaf said: “It’s been critical throughout the design and planning process and will be key to delivering beautiful, distinctive homes, which will be of outstanding architectural quality, adding to the character of those already found elsewhere at Lambton Park.”