A £59m investment programme spearheaded by Sunderland City Council is helping a local business to deliver its largest housing development to date.
Monkwearmouth-based housing company, MCC Homes, has developed a partnership with the council that has already seen the firm commit to deliver 20 new properties in the city. Five bungalows – in Elmwood Avenue, Southwick – are complete and a further 15 – the SME’s largest scheme to date – are expected to get started soon.
The company, which was founded in 2017, specialises in delivering smaller residential developments, that take unused pockets of land and bring them back to life.
Its Elmwood scheme and a further planned development in Southwick will see areas of land that had become magnets for fly tipping and anti-social behaviour brought back into use, providing much-needed homes for people in the city.
The firm hopes to move forward with a number of additional schemes across Sunderland, and is adding value to the city economy by prioritising local suppliers, as well as creating apprenticeship opportunities for young people from the area. Its entire on-site team are from Sunderland.
Luke Lee, operations director of MCC Homes, said: “We are delighted to be developing a strong partnership with Sunderland City Council and we are really pleased that in working with us, they’re backing a local business and Sunderland supply chains, who we always prioritise on our projects.
“As someone who was born and lives in Sunderland, it’s fantastic to be able to work on projects that add value to my home city, and that give us spending power to invest in the local supply chain, delivering homes that are made in Sunderland, by Sunderland people, for Sunderland people.”
Before striking up its relationship with the council, MCC Homes concentrated on its own private developments, mainly in Sunderland.
Its expansion into development began when Luke and his brother, Jordan, were joined by managing director Paul McCoy, and set out a strategy to further develop the business, which until then managed a portfolio of rented properties.
The company now employs seven people directly, and is looking to add to its number with more apprentices, as it looks to create more opportunities for local people.
“We recruited an apprentice bricklayer when we started up and he is brilliant,” said Luke.
“He has really developed during his time with us, and that’s really exciting for us to see as a business. We’d really like to create more opportunities for people to come and learn a trade and grow with our business. We love adding value to the city.”
The council’s investment in the bungalows is part of an ambitious plan that has seen the local authority once again become a Registered Housing Provider, renting its first homes in more than 20 years.
It has also began a programme of construction – building its first new properties in 40 years – as well as buying homes developed by MCC Homes to create new housing stock that meets the needs of the city’s residents.
In a five-year housing delivery and investment strategy, it set out plans to bring long term empty properties back into use, deliver more bungalows for accessible living, and providing more supported accommodation for vulnerable residents.
Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, dynamic city portfolio holder at Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a fantastic partnership, that shows the value of the work we are doing as a local authority to invest in our communities.
“Not only are we creating a range of attractive new homes that will meet the needs of people across the city, but we are supporting the local economy in the process, working with local businesses who in turn reinvest that spending power into local people and other local SMEs.
“Local community wealth building is absolutely central to our ambitions as a council. We want as much of the council spend as possible to remain in the city, supporting the private sector and in the process supporting local people and businesses.
“This new project with MCC homes is a fantastic example of the local authority backing one of our businesses in a partnership that delivers mutual benefits.
“Our £59m capital programme, to ensure Sunderland has a diverse range of homes to reflect the needs of its residents, is such an important project for us, and I am delighted to see it advancing so quickly, and in a way that brings about maximum local advantage.”
- Pictured above (left to right): Luke Lee, operations director of MCC Homes, Cllr Kevin Johnston, deputy cabinet member for housing and regeneration at Sunderland City Council and Graham Scanlon, assistant director of housing at Sunderland City Council.