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School children unveil artwork at £4m housing scheme, The Staithes

Year Six pupils from St. Peter and Paul R.C. Primary School joined the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Ken Stephenson this week to officially open one of a scheme in South Shields, St Mary’s; now known as ‘The Staithes’. It is located in Tyne Dock off Lord Nelson Street, it comprises of 31 two and three bedroom homes and six two-bedroom bungalows for older residents. This development was constructed on behalf of Karbon Homes, it was built on the site of the former St. Mary’s CofE Primary School and the adjacent St. Mary’s Centre. Construction works completed earlier this year and all homes are now fully occupied. Cllr. Ken Stephenson, Mayor of South Tyneside, said: “I’m delighted to officially open this development, we are committed to working in partnership to provide much-needed affordable homes to meet local need across the Borough. I’m sure anyone living at The Staithes will be proud to call it home.”

Year six pupils at St Peter and Paul RC Primary School were asked to create artwork for the scheme, and they used the history of the docks and shipyards in South Shields as their inspiration. A piece of artwork was created to act as an entrance feature.

The Staithes was highly commended in the High Volume New Housing Development category of the Local Authority Building Control North East Building Excellence Awards last month. The layout for the development uses the ‘Home Zone’ principles to ensure all the homes are easily accessible, and the site is pedestrian and cycle friendly, with traffic calming measures throughout.

The new homes were built by Gus Robinson Developments, designed by architects Norr Consultants and the design was approved by the North East Design Review Panel. Portland Consulting Engineers and Elliot Associates were also part of the project team.

Little builders check on progress of new homes

Children from a Newcastle primary school got a chance to see how a real building site works and even got to see a sneak preview of the new homes being built in their area. The Year 1 children from Mountfield Primary School, Kenton visited the Karbon Homes site on Burnfoot Way, just a short distance from their school gates. The children were walked around the perimeter of the site to observe how the staff and machinery operate. The children were asked to point out some of the hazards of a building site, and also had the chance to see the site office and check on the plans for the new homes, with an elevated view of the development work. Ellen Hagan, technical manager for Gus Robinson Developments, said: "Hopefully this visit has given the children an insight into how many different processes go into building houses, and why building sites can be dangerous places to be, so safety is always paramount.

Gus Robinson Developments is constructing a collection of 12 new affordable homes at Burnfoot Way, including 2 bed bungalows, 2 bed flats and 2 and 3 bed family houses on behalf of Karbon Homes. All will be available to let at Affordable Rent levels in the autumn. The new homes are being built at one end of a large open area on Burnfoot Way. Karbon Homes is consulting with the local community on a plan for Karbon to invest in developing the adjacent public open space for local residents to enjoy.

The Staithes, South Shields featured as Inside Housing's development of the week

Stephen Bell, Managing director at Gus Robinson Developments had this to say: "In 2014 I started working at Gus Robinson Dev’s. One of the first projects I started working on was this scheme in South Shields. 4 years later & after a lot of hard work from lot’s of people, here it is featured as Inside Housing development of the week"

Middlehaven Shortlisted in Northern Housing Awards

We are proud to announce that one of our developments has made its way into the Northern Housing Awards. North Star Housing Group have been shortlisted in the Northern Housing Awards for 'Affordable Housing Scheme of the Year' for the amazing urban pioneer live / work units at Middlehaven, Middlesbrough. 

Rebecca is building the foundations of a great career

Rebecca Hodge, 19, from Hartlepool, our trainee Quantity Surveyor apprentice has offered advice for people thinking of following in her footsteps by saying: “If you’re thinking about entering into an apprenticeship or a career in construction there is a lot of room for movement within the industry. If I wanted to change my role in a couple of years I know I would have the support to be able to do that. The great thing about my apprenticeship is it has given me the experience I need. My studies are being funded too so I have the freedom to go to university when I choose to do so. I’ve also managed to pay for my own car since I’ve been working at Gus Robinsons and I know that this job gives me that financial security. I definitely believe I’m in a better position financially and professionally than other 19 year olds and I owe it to my apprenticeship.” 

Rebecca said: “I first went to a different college to do my AS-levels and it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t have a firm idea of what I wanted to be. I had notions of being either a police officer or something involving geography but really, I didn’t have a clue.  It’s because I didn’t have an idea that I initially looked at construction. I thought there is such a wide range of prospects available to me with this career path and that it was a brilliant time for a woman to join the industry since there is so much encouragement and initiatives.  At first, I did my level 3 diploma in construction and built environment at Hartlepool FE and in my second year I went part-time, because Ian McNeil, my lecturer had secured me a job at Gus Robinson.”  
Rebecca is now employed full time by Gus Robinson and attends the college for one day a week to study her HNC. Gus Robinson's supports her through her studies and Rebecca hopes this can lead on to a degree. She said: “There are others who have been former apprentices like me and they went on to study a Surveying degree at Northumbria University. Gus Robinson is great because they will support me through my degree and I plan to become an assistant surveyor whilst I’m studying.”  Rebecca works alongside the commercial team on a variety of high-profile schemes across the business.  Rebecca said: “At the moment, I’m not a fully-fledged Quantity Surveyor but I still work closely with the Commercial Manager, primarily undertaking what’s known as ‘take offs’, where I take off measurements on plans in order to keep them within budget and send out quotes to subcontractors. It’s quite an important role. If I don’t get the right costs for the job then we could lose a lot of money.” 

Gus Robinson Developments and Hartlepool College of Further Education have a strong working relationship in the past as a number of former apprentices have taken up roles with the Gus Robinson Developments, including current Head of Apprenticeships at Hartlepool College, Gary Riches, who began his career as an apprentice with the company. 

Plan to demolish former West Auckland care home for housing

East Green Care Home in West Auckland, Bishop Auckland has stood empty for almost a decade and could be redeveloped for housing. East Green House Care Home, was shut in 2010 and over the years has fallen victim to vandals. In 2016 an outline application to build a terrace of ten homes behind the site, as part of a wider proposal which intended to demolish the home and build more housing, was given approval by Durham County Council’s (DCC) planning committee but never materialised. On behalf of North Star Housing Group, Gus Robinson Developments has submitted a full planning application to knock down the former nursing home and build 25 new homes in its place and on the site’s brownfield land.

Rob Yorke, Durham County Councillor for West Auckland, has welcomed the proposal. He said: “As a county Councillor I’m delighted the developer has come forward to refurbish this site. I have had a lot of residents complain about the empty building. If we can bring it back into use it can only be a good thing. Hopefully the plans will come to fruition. “Developers are proposing the construction of eight two-bedroom bungalows, 15 two-bedroom houses and two three-bedroom houses. Each home would have a private garden and “adequate” off road parking.

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