Fred Story founder of Housebuilder and Councillor Graeme Miller of Sunderland City Council

The housebuilder has set out its ambition to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Sunderland City Council to deliver developments across the city, representing a £90m commitment from the Carlisle-headquartered company.

The family-owned business – which has a rich 30-year heritage of designing and building high quality homes across the North of England and Southern Scotland – already has a number of live and completed sites across the wider North East area, but the announcement represents the company’s first steps into Sunderland.

It is a move that will support the employment of approximately 360 people; create approximately 58 affordable homes; and contribute to education, open space and community sport and leisure facilities across the city – something that ties into the council’s own commitment to its community wealth-building programme.

Fred Story, the company’s founder and CEO, believes that there is a sense of momentum building in Sunderland and that Story Homes’ move into the area will deliver mutual benefits for his business, as well as the city.

Story said: “We are delighted to be entering the market in Sunderland, where we know we can make a positive and significant contribution to the city’s housing supply.

“Our homes will bring a fantastic new offer to the area and we know that these upcoming sites will bring many economic benefits locally.”

Story has been confirmed as the preferred partner to develop the second phase of family-homes on Potters Hill, close to Chapelgarth and Moorside. Miller Homes is currently on site delivering 160 new homes, with future phases designed to create individual character areas with connecting green spaces and community focal points.

Potters Hill is one of a number of new housing schemes planned or underway in Sunderland, that will see more than 7,000 new properties rise from the ground over the coming 10 years. It was Sunderland City Council’s ambitious plans for the city – which will create exciting new places to live, work and play – that captured the attention of Story Homes, leading to the housebuilder’s decision to invest in the city.

Fred Story added: “Story Homes commends Sunderland City Council for the work they are doing in promoting and improving the city and their actions have been a major factor in our decision to strongly invest in the city. The council has been very proactive in helping us to bring forward our plans and we are very much looking forward to getting started once planning approvals are secured.”

The council is leading a city-wide housing strategy to ensure Sunderland has the volume and variety of homes it needs to attract and retain a diverse range of residents. Among other planned housing developments across the city is a new coastal community planned for Seaburn; a £40m scheme delivered by Karbon Homes in North Hylton and a £400m+ plan by Gentoo to invest in its existing stock, as well as new schemes. Sunderland City Council has also revealed its ambitions to develop contemporary new city centre homes on the former Vaux Brewery site, as well as on the opposite side of the river, close to the Stadium of Light. 

Speaking of Story Homes’ announcement, Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that a company renowned for the quality of its developments has spotted the potential that Sunderland represents, and we are sure this will add enormous value to the city, building on the fantastic housing stock we already have, and the exciting programme of investment already underway. 

“We have a really compelling offer in the city – our fantastic connectivity, our stunning natural assets like the seaside, parkland and cultural offer – so we know that we are an attractive place to live already.  However, high-quality homes of different sizes and styles are critical to attracting diverse communities to our city. Story’s commitment to Sunderland – along with that of other developers – will enable this and we’re looking forward to working with them.”

The developer is continuing to focus on growth and expansion across the region and will begin work on four new North East developments this year, which are set to deliver a further 540 homes.

Councillor Miller added: “The rate of developments moving forward in Sunderland at the moment is absolutely unprecendented and undeniable – whether that’s new business hubs like THE BEAM creating hundreds of new jobs; the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) which will attract more and better jobs to the city; the new medical school at the University of Sunderland, which will train scores of doctors who we would like to ensure stay in the city; or even fantastic employers like Hays Travel, who are doing their bit to boost the city economy. With this boost comes the opportunity to attract people to relocate here, and to create an offer compelling enough that they will spend their money here. 

“We have a vision for a healthy, dynamic, vibrant Sunderland, and we can only achieve that by creating the right conditions for the city to succeed – thinking holistically and looking at our housing and leiure offer, as well as job-creating projects and investment in infrastructure.”

The news of Story’s investment in the city follows a series of positive investment announcements.  Ocado announced plans to open a base in Sunderland just weeks after work on THE BEAM had completed, and a second tenant, Penshaw View, has also taken space on the ground floor as it looks forward to expansion.  The second phase of work on the former Vaux Brewery site will see a new City Hall for Sunderland, set to get underway within weeks.

Among other exciting new city centre developments is a 120-room Holiday Inn hotel on Keel Square; a 450-seater auditorium, that is now under construction in the city’s Minster Quarter; a new business centre, in the former River Wear Commissioners Building as well as announcements in Seaburn of a STACK development and proposals for a pub with rooms from the Inn Collection Group. 

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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