DEMOLITION work started on a housing estate yesterday to make way for a £4m development.

Twenty-six post-war properties in Valley Road, Northallerton, are being bulldozed as part of plans to build 47 new houses and flats on the site.

Bosses at Broadacres Housing Association say the original houses were built using a concrete frame and panel system, which has proved to have a limited life span.

The work will be done in two phases.

The first phase will see the houses being built on one side of the street so tenants can move in, before the houses on the other side are completed.

Work on the project, known as the Orlits scheme, is being carried out by Strata Construction Ltd.

Gill Haigh, director of housing services at Broadacres, said the original houses had become run down.

She added: "Because the houses are built on such a big site, it has meant that we can almost double the number of properties.

"I am delighted that we are not only providing new modern homes for our existing tenants, but also increasing the supply of affordable accommodation for local people.

"In 1984, the Government said these types of properties were defective, which has made it difficult for people to get mortgages.

"Our properties did not have the problems that similar houses developed because they were inspected regularly, but it got to a stage where we were needing to spend money on the houses on things like putting new bathrooms in.

"We thought we could either spend it on these houses or look at putting new ones up."

She said the new properties have the unanimous support of the tenants currently living in the Orlits scheme properties.

The existing tenants are also being given the chance to choose some of the interior fixtures and fittings, such as the kitchen units.

Paula Smith, who is a resident and part of the Orlits Design Working Group, said: "We are enjoying working with Broadacres and Strata to design our new homes and can not wait to move in."